BY FORTUNE MBELE
ZIFA have made another bid to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to have at least 5 000 fans allowed to watch the Group G World Cup qualifier against Ghana at the National Sports Stadium next month.
This comes on the backdrop of an application to have 10 000 fans watch the game against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana at the National Sports Stadium on September 3, which was thrown out by Caf.
This time around, Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said they made an application to Caf which was accompanied by a government supporting letter.
However, Gwesela could not be drawn to reveal the contents of the government letter.
“We have made an application to Caf to have 5 000 fans allowed for the Ghana match. We are waiting for a response from Caf. In our application, we attached a government supporting letter,” Gwesela said.
Dismissing Zifa’s application for the game against Bafana Bafana, Caf said: “Caf analysed and assessed your request from a medical, stadium requirements compliance, and safety and security perspectives in your venue. Accordingly, a decision has been taken not to allow the presence of spectators in the aforementioned match.”
The National Sports Stadium got a waiver to host international matches without meeting all the prerequisites, probably on condition that the World Cup qualifiers would be played behind closed doors.
The stadium still has a number of outstanding issues that include the installation of bucket seats, refurbishment of a venue operations centre, improvement of the pitch itself, renovation of the B-Arena for training, electronic entrances to the stadium and general cleanliness of the facility.
Caf has made several calls to Zifa to attend to the outstanding issues but the owners of the facility, the government has been a major letdown.
In May, Caf okayed the National Sports Stadium for the World Cup qualifiers and earlier in April, the stadium was okayed to host the Africa Cup of Nation (Afcon) matches while Zifa were fined US$2 000 for the deplorable state of the facility.
In a circular last week Caf said the National Sports Stadium was one of the stadia that was cleared to host Group G matches.
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