ZIFA has proposed the use of just Harare and Bulawayo in its 2017 Afcon finals bid and intends to use four stadiums in the country’s biggest cities.
The football mother body has kept the full budget under wraps but the upgrade of Gwanzura stadium in Harare and Luveve in Bulawayo would gobble the largest chunk of the funds.
According to Zifa the National Sports Stadium and Barbourfields would not require a major revamp as they already meet Caf benchmarks.
For the Afcon finals the continental body demands matches be played in stadia that have a minimum carrying capacity of 20 000 spectators.
The proposal to host the tournament in just two cities might work to Zifa’s disadvantage as Caf prefers matches to spread over more cities, but the association is confident of convincing Caf to bring the tournament to Zimbabwe.
This is Zimbabwe’s third attempt at hosting the continental showcase after two failed attempts in the past mainly due to the lack of a government guarantee.
This time however government has swiftly provided the guarantee with the Sports ministry working closely with the Tourism portfolio.
Yesterday Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said they would announce the bid committee next week.
“We have submitted our bid and now await the next steps where Caf will send their inspection team,” said Mashingaidze. “We will make an announcement of our high profile bid committee that will work on important aspects such as marketing and the preparation of facilities. We are looking at hosting the tournament in two cities, Harare and Bulawayo, and because we need four venues we are looking at upgrading Gwanzura and Luveve.”
Zimbabwe’s most successful sports personalities such as Olympic swimming medalist Kirsty Coventry, and former Warriors captains Peter Ndlovu and Benjani Mwaruwari are expected to make the bid committee list.
Initially Zimbabwe courted Zambia for a joint bid which Zambia turned down before a similar proposal to Botswana was also declined.
Zambia has since built two classy stadiums, Levy Mwanawasa in Ndola and Independence stadium in Lusaka and despite missing out on the rights to host the 2019 tournament they are not bidding for the 2017 tournament.
The 2017 finals had been awarded to Libya which has since lost that right due to political unrest in that country.
Most locals are concerned about Zimbabwe’s facilities with only the National Sports Stadium meeting modern standards.
Zimbabwe faces competition from Algeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana in its bid to become only the third Southern African nation to host the tournament after South Africa and Angola.