Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO City Council has to completely demolish Barbourfields Stadium and reconstruct it for the facility to meet international standards as per Caf recommendations, a senior council official has said.
The official said some of the recommendations by the two-man Caf inspection team made up of South African football legend Mark Fish and Orlando Pirates general manager Derek Blackensee needed huge structural alterations.
“The council has done most of the recommendations that include installation of televisions, fridges, medical equipment, media centre and conference rooms. All that has been spruced up and we also did work on the dressing rooms, but the Caf fellows said they were too small so for the city to meet those expected standards, it literally means demolishing Barbourfields Stadium, especially the VIP end.
“You must remember that the stadium was built in the 1930s, but started taking shape around 1956, so for us to compare such a facility with South African stadiums that were built or worked on in preparation for the 2010 Fifa World Cup will be asking for too much given the time and economic considerations. It’s just like trying to convert a Peugot 404 into a Mercedes Benz or something, it’s impossible,” said the official.
“So for us as a city to have a totally compliant stadium we really need to demolish it (Barbourfields) or maybe work on White City Stadium, which has some space for structural changes, but that needs financial impetus.”
The revelations come at a time when the Zifa First Instance Body (FIB) arrives in Bulawayo tomorrow for inspection of Barbourfields Stadium ahead of a visit by the Caf team.
“We will be in Bulawayo for a local inspection of Barbourfields Stadium to check on what has happened during the lockdown period on a preliminary scale in preparation for another local inspection that is going to happen early next month.
Obviously it is our appeal to Bulawayo City Council to ensure that the stadiums are brought to the required levels and to ensure that they meet Caf standards. It is our fervent hope that the municipality and all other stakeholders will upscale their efforts and ensure that their stadiums are brought to the required levels,” said Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela.
The Zifa grounds inspection team is chaired by former Eastern Region chairman Piraishe Mabhena.