ZIFA are keen on hosting the Warriors’ decisive African Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland at the National Sports Stadium and have asked the Confederation of African Football to certify the venue in time for the Easter Monday fixture.
The Warriors have of late been using Rufaro for their home matches in both the Nations Cup and African Nations Championships assignments.
After that match, coach Callisto Pasuwa shifted his attention to homegrown talent as he prepared for the CHAN tournament in Rwanda while the foreign legion flew back to their respective bases.
The Warriors AFCON squad has not played together since then.
Now Pasuwa’s men will resume their bid for a place at the 2017 Nations Cup finals in Gabon with back to back clashes against Swaziland with whom they are joint leaders in Group L with four points each.
The Warriors will travel to Mbabane for the first of the clashes on March 25 — Good Friday — before hosting Sihlangu in Harare on Easter Monday.
Following recommendations made by Pasuwa to ZIFA, the association agreed to have the Warriors against Sihlangu tie moved to the National Sports Stadium.
But the giant facility which had been closed for renovations would need fresh certification by CAF before the game could proceed.
CAF who also had to inspect Luveve before settling for Barbourfields ahead of Chicken Inn’s Champions League assignment against Mamelodi Sundowns had earlier written to ZIFA on the issue of the inspection of the National Sports Stadium.
CAF Competitions Division director Shereen Arafa had written to ZIFA on February 25 advising them that the National Sports Stadium is currently not regulated to stage matches directly under the supervision of the continental body.
“Reference is made to the above mentioned subject (AFCON qualifiers — Match: 101 — Zimbabwe v Swaziland, request to use the National Sports Stadium in Harare). We regret to inform you that the National Sports Stadium in Harare is not homologated by CAF at the time being. Therefore you are kindly requested to change the venue.
In his response, ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze this week wrote to Arafa, requesting the continental soccer body to send an inspector to assess the suitability of the National Sports Stadium to staging the Warriors’ blockbuster Easter Monday clash.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association in receipt of your letter dated 25 February, 2016 pertaining the above (Inspection of the National Sports Stadium for the 2017 African Cup of Nations campaign 2016) and hereby acknowledge its contents.
“The association requests that your esteemed office and person send an inspector who should inspect the National Sports Stadium ahead of our fixture against Swaziland on 25 March, 2016.
“The National Sports Stadium in the biggest stadium in the land and has been home to Zimbabwe’s biggest international assignments. May you confirm you will be able to come to Zimbabwe for an inspection visit,’’ Mashingaidze said.
With Sihlangu using the artificial turf at Somhlolo for their home matches, Pasuwa believes taking the Swazis to the wider pitch and on the natural grass of the National Sports Stadium will work in their Warriors favour.
The Warriors coach is expected to name his Nations Cup squad tomorrow or over the weekend with the professionals plying their trade in Europe and South Africa set to once again dominate the side.