Sikhumbuzo Moyo in BULAWAYO
THE Confederation of African Football banned Barbourfields from hosting international matches following complaints by Algerian officials that the stadium’s dressing rooms were too small.
The three-man Algerian delegation were in the City of Kings last week, as an advance party, and had a tour of the stadium.
The officials toured the city’s hotels, training pitches, supermarkets and Barbourfields ahead of the scheduled 2021 AFCON qualifier between Zimbabwe and Algeria.
“Those guys claimed Barbourfields Stadium’s dressing rooms were too small for their bloated technical team and they then presented that to CAF who, shockingly, listened to them and decided to effect a ban on Barbourfields Stadium, without even bothering to wait for their grounds inspection team,” said a senior Bulawayo City official.
ZIFA yesterday distanced themselves from the Algerians’ tour of the match venue.
“We only facilitated their advance party’s visit to the city, which included a tour of the hotel facilities and other training venue, not the match venue, maybe the City council would know how they got to get into Barbourfields Stadium,” said ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela.
However, this publication has it on good authority that ZIFA chief executive, Joseph Mamutse, okayed the North Africans’ visit to Barbourfields. He personally phoned Zifa Southern Region board member, Tizirayi Luphahla, and told him of the Algerians’ itinerary.
Meanwhile, ZIFA and the Bulawayo City Council yesterday held a four-hour meeting at the council offices with the national football controlling body confident the ban might be reversed. Zifa were represented by board member Bryton Malandule, First Instance Body chairman Piraishe Mabhena and Gwesela while the director of housing and community services, Dictor Khumalo, represented the City of Bulawayo.