Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reporter
Confederation of African Football stadium inspector Kabelo Doslong of South Africa is expected in the country today to run the rule over Mandava and see if it qualifies to host the Champions League matches. FC Platinum who will be Zimbabwe’s sole representative on the African Safari following the withdrawal of Harare City from the Confederation Cup have since notified ZIFA of their intention to host their continental matches at their favourite hunting ground Mandava.
At the moment Zimbabwe has three stadiums which CAF said are capable of hosting high profile continental matches which are National Sports Stadium, Rufaro and Barbourfields. In terms of the stadium itself Mandava will not have any problems in making the grade, but it is the infrastructure in Zvishavane especially lack of accommodation that has always pegged back ambitions to host international assignments.
Early last year the miners renovated their stadium, with special emphasis put on drainage for it to be able to host matches even after a heavy downpour. Mandava is no stranger to hosting international matches and were in 2015 given the nod to play their Confederation Cup Matches at their favourite hunting ground.
CAF regulate that champions league matches cannot be staged in areas where the distance from the airport is more than 200km, in this case FC Platinum have that covered since Bulawayo is approximately 180km away. ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela confirmed the coming of Doslong and expressed optimism that Mandava will make the grade.
“Currently in Zimbabwe we have three stadiums that CAF feels are good to host a Champions league match that is National Sports Stadium, Rufaro and Barbourfields. FC Platinum has told us that they prefer using Mandava which to us is good enough. “The CAF inspector is coming tomorrow (today) to inspect Mandava Stadium to assess if it is eligible to host Champions League matches. The inspection team will look at a number of things including the accommodation, security and general facilities if they are capable of hosting such high profile matches.
“He is arriving in Zimbabwe on Friday and will then inspect the stadium and facilities in Zvishavane on Saturday,” Gwesela said.
“As an association we are convinced that the infrastructure in Zvishavane is good enough to host games of that magnitude. We have seen tremendous improvements at FC Platinum in terms of club licensing and they are one of the best clubs that have implemented it well so we do not doubt their professionalism,” said Gwesela.