Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
MANDAVA Stadium in Zvishavane might soon play host to national team matches if it passes an inspection test by a Fifa and Caf-approved inspector who has been in the country from the beginning of the week.
South African national Kabelo Bosilong, who is an accredited grounds inspector on Monday and Tuesday visited and inspected Bulawayo’s Barbourfields and Mandava stadiums before proceeding to Harare yesterday to take a look at the National Sports Stadium.
“I can confirm that we have been hosting a Fifa and Caf grounds inspector here in Zimbabwe. He inspected Barbourfields and Mandava Stadiums on Monday and Tuesday respectively before proceeding to the National Sports Stadium. Barbourfields and Mandava Stadiums were inspected largely because of FC Platinum’s qualification to the Total Caf Champions League mini league phase,” said Zifa competitions and communications manager Xolisani Gwesela, adding that once that is done and Caf gives its seal of approval, even Mandava Stadium may in future play host to national team matches.
“Once Caf has approved a venue, there is nothing that can stop the national team from playing there,” said Gwesela.
He said Bosilong, during his inspection period, was looking at the field of play, dressing rooms, access areas, medical and media facilities as well as floodlights.
“He also looked at accommodation in surrounding hotels and lodges among a host of other critical areas,” said Gwesela.
While some have previously ignored media areas, it has been one of the most critical needs for a stadium to get approval. If there is no clearly defined area for media personnel to freely execute their duties as is the case at Barbourfields Stadium where general fans will be sitting together with journalists, Caf and indeed Fifa would reluctantly approve such a stadium. Most stadiums have clearly defined cubicles for media, fitted with uninterrupted power and wifi facilities. Locally Mandava Stadium has one of the best if not the only such media area although the FC Platinum home ground’s major challenge is the unavailability of floodlights.