As Zim faces stadium crisis, Katumbi plans new 50 000-seater facility

06 Dec, 2019 - 00:12 0 Views
As Zim faces stadium crisis, Katumbi plans new 50 000-seater facility Moise Katumbi

The Herald

WHILE Zimbabwe is battling a stadium crisis, largely blamed on poor management of existing facilities, Congolese businessman Moise Katumbi has announced plans to build a new 50 000-seater stadium in Lubumbashi.

The new stadium will be used by his club, TP Mazembe, the five-time African champions.

The Confederation banned the use of the National Sports Stadium, for international matches, after the giant facility failed to meet the minimum requirements to stage such games.

With Rufaro already an eyesore, despite the millions that were recently ploughed into the Mbare stadium by the Harare City Council for a facelift that never was, and Mandava being condemned as not good enough by CAF, only Barbourfieds can now host international games.

However, Barbourfields, which will host the CAF Champions League match between FC Platinum and Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia tomorrow, has also been flagged by CAF for lacking some basic requirements, especially its floodlights and media facilities.

The CAF leaders expect those in charge of Barbourfields to make the necessary arrangements, quickly, or the stadium could also be barred from hosting any international matches.

If, that happens, it means Zimbabwean representative teams, including the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors, might be forced to play their matches outside the country.

While there is a stadium crisis in this country, Congolese businessman, Katumbi, announced he will build a new 50 000-seater stadium for his club TP Mazembe.

The Lubumbashi side currently play their games at an 18 00-seater stadium, which they own, and also have two passenger planes which they use for their assignments.

Katumbi, who is also a politician, took FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, to visit the site where TP Mazembe’s new football stadium will be built.

Infantino was on a visit to Africa which took him to Mozambique, Lesotho and Congo-Brazzaville.

The new TP Mazembe stadium will also host the club’s youth academy.

‘‘(At) TP Mazembe’s Football Academy, Moïse Katumbi, club president and vice-president of the new World Football Club Association, gave the group, which included CAF president and FIFA vice-president Ahmad Ahmad, FIFA secretary-general and General Delegate for Africa Fatma Samoura, FIFA Legend and Special Advisor to CAF president Samuel Eto’o, FIFA Legend and CEO of the FIFA Foundation Youri Djorkaeff, FIFA deputy secretary general (Football) Mattias Grafström, a tour of the facilities,’’ FIFA said.

‘‘The group had the opportunity to see several classes in action and paid a surprise visit to young footballers studying English and French. They also observed a class dedicated to helping children who have difficulties reading.

‘‘A press conference then took place where the FIFA president informed members of the media about FIFA’s plans to support and develop football in the DRC and Africa.

‘‘He spoke about three specific pillars: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions, as well as FIFA’s plans to develop these hand in hand with CAF and the African football stakeholders.

‘‘The first pillar, refereeing, will create a professional and elite group of African referees who will be independent of administrative and political bodies.

‘‘The second pillar, infrastructure, will see FIFA mobilise companies and entrepreneurs to gather around US$1 billion with the objective of building at least one stadium that complies with FIFA’s standards in each African country.

‘‘The third pillar, competitions, focuses on developing new and better competitions to generate more revenues so that the African clubs can retain talented players.’’

Infantino said, according to his grand plan, each African country will have a modern stadium built by FIFA.

“What I want, what FIFA wants and what football needs is to see African football shine. We want to bring it to the highest of heights and show the world the outstanding talent and amazingly gifted players your continent possesses,’’ he said.

‘‘To do this, we want to implement a three pillar approach: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions. In close cooperation with CAF, the 54 member associations across Africa and other stakeholders, I am positive that we will make African football reach the top level where it should be because the quality and potential are definitely here.”

“I am positive that we will make African football reach the top level where it should be because the quality and potential are definitely here.”

He said FIFA will focus on developing new and better competitions to generate more revenue so that the African clubs can retain talented players.

Infantino hinted at the possibility of creating an African League that would see the best clubs from the continent play against each other, without giving further details or outlining how the plan might impact the Champions League.

He also talked about plans to organize regional competitions and youth tournaments to further help the development of young players in Africa. — Sports Reporter/BBC Sport/FIFA.

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