Rufaro under the spotlight . . . faces FIB inspection today

THE ZIFA Normalisation Committee’s First Instance Board is expected to tour Rufaro Stadium this afternoon to assess if the venue is now able to meet international standards required to host soccer matches.

Rufaro is key to the Premier Soccer League requirements for this season as the National Sports Stadium will be unavailable for almost two months to allow crucial renovations that would allow the return of international football in the country. 

Harare giants Dynamos and CAPS United, who do not have their own stadiums, rely on both Rufaro and the National Sports Stadium for their home matches.

Domestic action is expected to start on February 24 with the Castle Challenge Cup between last season’s Chibuku Super Cup winners Dynamos and league champions Ngezi Platinum Stars and the issue of venues is top priority hence Zifa NC recently constituted the FIB to ensure that stadiums and all 18 top-flight teams are compliant to requirements.

The FIB is responsible for examining grounds which should meet the minimum standards as well as ensuring that clubs adhere to the club licensing requirements as per international expectations.

This year’s FIB is led by former Warriors manager, Shariff Mussa who will work with CAF general coordinators Gaylord Madhunguza and Violet Jubane.

Today all eyes will be on their tour of Rufaro, a major venue that last staged Premiership games way back in 2019 and has been failing eligibility tests over the past four years.

The stadium has been under the latest round of renovations and yesterday Harare mayor Jacob Mafume had another tour after the postponement of the proposed Mayor’s Cup Charity Cup pitting Harare giants Dynamos and CAPS United.

Mafume conceded that they are racing against time to ensure that the stadium meets the standards and they have done everything which they believe FIB expects.

“We are going to have the ZIFA First Instance Board here at Rufaro tomorrow (today) and we are hopeful that they will give us the greenlight to use the stadium for local matches and if that happens we will proceed with the Mayor’s Cup.

“The stadium has gone under transformation and it is my hope that we have ticked all the boxes expected of a normal football stadium. It was unfortunate that we had scheduled the Mayor’s Cup Charity Cup tomorrow and it is still a possibility that it will go ahead if we are given the greenlight.

“The Cup is not cancelled completely as we will have an opportunity to hold it during the international break in May. We will have engaged the responsible authorities ZIFA and the Premier League for a date to host the tournament,” said Mafume.

He added:

“We are done with the changing rooms, the toilets and the material we had managed to finish the job. What we were simply doing was fitting the material and we have since increased our working hours with the workers putting final touches throughout this evening (yesterday). 

“There was a bit of interruption in between but it’s all systems go now as we have done a lot to make sure that we make sure that football returns to Rufaro.

“We have managed to put aluminium goalposts, which has improved the appeal of the stadium to meet international standards.

“The electronic turnstiles have been manufactured and we have re-done the gates to fit the turnstiles while the changing rooms have been expanded and tiled,” added  Mafume.

Herald

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