Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council is likely to hire external expertise to work on recommendations of the Confederation of African Football stadium inspection team for Barbourfields Stadium, as the local authority lacks in-house skills to meet some of the requirements.
There will be a presentation to a full council, as the recommendations also need some budgetary approvals, BCC director of housing and community services, Dictor Khumalo, told Chronicle Sport yesterday.
He said council fully embraced the recommendations and will do everything it can to ensure Barbourfields remains and maintains its status as the stadium of choice in Zimbabwe.
“We will do everything in our power to meet the recommendations. This we will do to the best of our ability,” said Khumalo.
The recommendations were made by South Africa-based Caf Grounds Inspector Kabelo Bosilong during an examination of Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane and the National Sports Stadium in Harare as well as Barbourfields Stadium last month.
The inspections saw Mandava and the National Sports Stadium being delisted and barred from playing host to Caf matches, while Barbourfields was given a provisional green light.
“We are still assessing the implications of the letter. We may need external assistance as we do not have in-house technical skills to meet some of the requirements that are technical and need relevant expertise. Above that we will be presenting a report to council as a policy maker since these recommendations need budgetary allocations. But yes, we have indeed taken note of what is expected of us as Bulawayo City Council, owners of Barbourfields Stadium,” Khumalo said.
The banning of NSS has also presented the City of Bulawayo with a perfect opportunity to market itself to the international market and also promote sports tourism as well as other downstream industries.
FC Platinum are using Barbourfields Stadium as their home ground for the Total Caf Champions League, while Triangle United also used the same venue for their Caf Confederation Cup.
If Caps United win the league title, they will also be forced relocate to the City of Kings for their Caf Champions League campaign.
While the Warriors’ Afcon qualifiers resume in August next year, the Fifa World Cup qualifiers might begin much earlier and the national team will play home matches at Barbourfields Stadium unless some miraculous improvements are made at the National Sports Stadium to meet the minimum Caf requirements.
Caf stadium requirements:
1. Pitch condition must be improved and the surface must be green and marked clearly in white.
2. In-field goalposts must be easily removable and spare goalposts must be available for quick installation.
3. The two covered benches should be at pitch level.
4. For evening matches, the floodlights Lux capacity must be according to the Caf CL match requirements. A minimum 1 200 Lux should be provided all over the pitch, covering uniformly every area of the playing field.
5. A uniform signage system around the stadium to facilitate entry or exit of people. It also wants clear adequate signposts to guide spectators to their sectors.
6. Entry gates, exit gates and doors must be operational and similarly clearly indicated by signs which are universally understood.
7. Installation of stadium specific signage from media entrance to all the various facilities for the media.
8. Installation of signage around the medical facility and throughout the stadium to notify supporters.
9. Barbourfields Stadium, to add “five individual seated toilets” in the dressing rooms, a massage table in each dressing room, a tactical board (white board/flip chart with pens) as well as good ventilation or air-conditioning.
10. A doping room which must be near the teams’ dressing rooms and must be “inaccessible to any person that is not involved with the doping control process”. It must be equipped with a television set, a refrigerator equipped with non-alcoholic drinks, sealed mineral water bottles, waste paper bin for bottles, a ventilator and sufficient seating for at least eight people. The toilet area must be immediately next to the doping control room with direct private access.
11. Numbered bucket seats fixed to the floor at Barbourfields as well as a safety certificate from the concerned authorities in which they will set the permitted capacity for the stadium together with detailed terms and conditions that the stadium management must comply with in order to operate the stadium at its permitted capacity.