SPORTS minister, Senator David Coltart, has directed the Sports and Recreation Commission to ensure that national teams play some of their matches outside Harare.
Coltart is particularly concerned with national teams who have been confined to Harare for a long time.
In a letter to the sports supreme body, Coltart directed that Warriors play some of their matches at Barbourfields stadium in Bulawayo as opposed to the National Sports Stadium and Rufaro only.
Part of the letter reads: “For some time I have been concerned about what I perceive as an inequitable distribution of international sporting fixtures in Zimbabwe. For example, the Warriors have not played outside of Harare for some time, thus depriving football supporters throughout Zimbabwe of the opportunity to watch the national team.
“I recognise that only certain facilities are acceptable for international events and to that extent, only certain stadia can be used. This will be taken into account in the formulation of the directives.”
Coltart wants the SRC to take keen interest in the venues for international matches and monitor that they are distributed equitably throughout the country.
But Coltart’s demands are at variance with Zifa who want to capitalise on revenue by hosting most Warriors’ matches at the National Sports Stadium which accommodates 60 000 fans.
Both Rufaro stadium and Babourfields have a carrying capacity of 30 000.
“I believe that the National Sports Stadium, Rufaro and Barbourfields are the only grounds which meet Fifa specifications and so, in future, matches should be held alternately and evenly at all three of these grounds.”
His directive brings an interesting dimension to a debate over venues for the Warriors, already in the public domain.
Some fans and players have demanded that the Warriors play their home assignments at Rufaro stadium, while Zifa has stood firm arguing
that the National Sports Stadium had the best security.
Of late, paying fans have barely reached 30 000 in competitive matches meaning Barbourfields can easily host the team.
The mighty Warriors on the other hand have played all their competitive home matches at Rufaro stadium.
Coltart’s demands apply to all sporting disciplines.