Zifa to up game on stadium safety

Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau

ZIFA have emphasised the need to improve stadium safety and security following the ground-breaking Caf Safety and Security workshop held this week in Egypt.

The two-day workshop, attended by all 54 member associations, was aimed at improving the safety and security of football fans, players and officials during and after games. 

Zimbabwe were represented by their security officer Emmanuel Mutunami. 

The association were caught on the wrong side following the death of a football fan in a stampede at the National Sports Stadium earlier this year leading to  a two-match ban of the giant facility by Caf. 

“Issues to deal with stadium safety and security have taken centre stage not only in Africa but in global football,’’ said Zifa spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela.

“Security is the most important element in organising football competitions and events. 

“We have had incidents of crowd trouble even at our local games and recently there was a tragic case where one football supporter lost her life at the National Sports Stadium.

“Stadiums should be free and secure for everyone. We have since taken measures that in future we will not have a repeat of such scenarios. 

“We appreciate this workshop held by Caf in Egypt and we hope it will go a long way in organising safe competitions for everyone.’’

Domestic Premiership has also battled security and safety issues with big clubs like Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United always found wanting.

The workshop ended on a high note on Tuesday with Caf president Ahmad Ahmad presenting certificates to national security officers from the 54-member associations. 

A highlight of the workshop was the unveiling of the Caf Safety and Security Regulations.

“This workshop has been revolutionary in terms of safety and security at football matches for our continent and it is a very positive step forward.

“Security has been one of my major concerns since my assumption of the Caf presidency and I’m very conscious that we still have lots of work to do in this regard. 

“Football should be a pleasure to watch and play without security concerns. 

“I encourage all of you here today to put into practice the knowledge and skills you have taken from this important workshop to your respective countries,” said Ahmad.

Head of Caf’s Safety and Security department, Christian Emeruwa, talked about the concept of safety and security in Africa, citing some of the major football safety incidents that took place between 2009 and 2019. 

The two-day workshop was organised with the support of Fifa through its Forward Programme.

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