‘NSS will be ready for 2026 WC qualifiers’

SPORTS Minister Kirsty Coventry has assured the nation that the National Sports Stadium will be available for the resumption of Warriors’ matches in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. 

The Ministry of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture has entered into agreements with private companies to fund renovations at the stadium. 

Coventry yesterday said the arrangement will enable the venue to meet international standards as required by the Confederation of African Football. 

CAF has condemned various stadia across the country as unfit to hold international football matches a situation that resulted in the men’s national team, the Warriors, playing their home match in a 2026 World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in Rwanda in November last year. 

Appearing before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee yesterday, Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Minister Kirsty Coventry said the Government had entered into Memoranda of Understanding with as-yet-to-be-named entities to fund the upgrades. 

She appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture chaired by Mhondoro-Mubayira legislator, Chamu Chiwanza. 

“The reason I will not do that right (name the companies) now is because of the partnerships we have. They have asked us to give them a bit of time to put certain things in place and then make a formal announcement. 

“I know it’s not the answer that you want but the goal is to ensure that we do not play any other (home) game outside of this country and I do believe that we are on track to achieve that. 

“I do believe our next game is in June and we had set the target of April, so if it’s June, it gives us a little bit of leeway but I expect that things are done and CAF is back to Zimbabwe to visit before April. 

“Those are the time-lines I can share with you right now because I am bound by the MoUs I signed and I have to be as respectful as I can to those private companies that have come forward to offer financial assistance,” she said. 

In his remarks, Murehwa West legislator, Farai Jere, who is also the Premier Soccer League president renovations of the NSS should be a priority. 

“This should be a priority not because other sports or arts are not important but the reputation of the country is in dis-repute because of the absence of the National Sports Stadium,” he said.

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