Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THIS week as I was driving home from work I listened to news from my car radio by this respectable radio station and as usual and as per template the last news item was sports.
The fella was talking about the upcoming matches for the Warriors as well as the imminent arrival of a Caf grounds inspection team.
My heart almost popped out when this radio station told the whole nation that the Warriors might be forced to play their home matches outside the country if the National Sports Stadium, which was struck of the list of stadia that can play host to Caf and Fifa matches, was not readmitted back.
It’s common cause that the facility will not see any international matches in the foreseeable future because of its appalling state which starts from the very key aspect that even an untrained eye can easily see, the turf. What angered me was the deliberate if not foolish attempt by the station not to mention that the Caf grounds team okayed Barbourfields Stadium, albeit provisionally.
The recommendations that were made by Caf on Barbourfields Stadium were not and are not anything that any serious responsible authority would fail to address. We however have people who choose to suffer from selective amnesia and deliberately choose not to tell the nation that Barbourfields Stadium is available if authorities spruce up a few things. To them it’s not important but what is important is that the National Sports Stadium was banned and as long as it is not homologated, the Warriors might be forced to play outside the country.
Unless maybe they are telling us that Bulawayo, where Barbourfields Stadium is domiciled is not in Zimbabwe. This is unbecoming and unacceptable for any media organisation to try and be devisive and only potray an image that only Harare can host the national team.
If President Mnangagwa can see it fit to take the biggest national celebrations, the Independence celebrations to Bulawayo, who are we not to bring a football match to this city? Any attempt to belittle the City of Bulawayo by agents of division must be quashed by all sane and progressive Zimbabweans. We refuse to be treated as second class citizens.
People failed to maintain their facilities and now want to drag everyone into their misery. Because of this propensity to grab everything, they had an artificial turf installed at Rufaro Stadium only to fail to maintain that artificial turf leading to the eventual uprooting of the turf and now the ceremonial home of football is in a sorry state. Same applies to Magamba Hockey Stadium as well as Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex which had since been turned into a music hosting venue. Switch to Bulawayo, Khumalo Hockey Stadium is in an excellent condition and so is Barbourfields Stadium.
Owners of the stadium have already assured us that they will do everything possible to meet the Caf recommended standards which include but not limited to having clear signage, putting refrigerators in some of the dressing rooms. Making sure there is bottled water. They also need to have a massage table in the dressing room, a tactical table as well. Improving the media area by having tables and powerlines, internet among other things. The loan must be clearly green.
In short those requirements are not out of this world but some people dont want to accept that. To some extent I am tempted to suspect that some within Zifa also want the Warriors to play outside the country.
Sadly that will not and will never happen, the Warriors are coming to Barbourfields Stadium whether some people like it or not. Choosing to suffer from selective amnesia wont change that.