Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League (PSL) reigning champions Ngezi Platinum Stars and the 2023 Chibuku Super Cup winners Dynamos, may have to play their Confederation of African Football (CAF) home games in one of the neighbouring countries.
Ngezi is set to participate in the CAF Champions League while Dynamos qualified for the Confederation Cup.
Currently, Zimbabwe doesn’t have a single CAF-certified venue to use for international football matches.
All local stadiums, including the National Sports Stadium, failed to meet the CAF minimum requirements and standards.
The national team (The Warriors) had to host Nigeria at Huye Stadium in Rwanda in a 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier last year.
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The 2024-25 editions of CAF inter-club tournaments are scheduled to start in July.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail, Ngezi president Takawira Maswiswi said financial constraints have scuttled the club’s plans to renovate Baobab Stadium to meet CAF standards. Maswiswi said:
The issue of the stadium is a big one. In the environment that we are in, you will find that sponsorship has been limited and, therefore, funding has been limited. Priority will be for us to fund the actual participation.
The PSL champions are hoping that the National Sports Stadium, which they used in 2017 when they participated in the Confederation Cup, will be ready for use by the time the Champions League begins. Said Maswiswi:
Last time (in the Confederation Cup) we made use of the National Sports Stadium because we couldn’t get our stadium homologated.
We think that we might still face the same challenges that we faced last time, in terms of getting Baobab homologated, and if the National Sports Stadium is also not passed for use, then certainly we will have a problem.
I can’t say that I have a solution at this stage but definitely, we will not pull out of the African safari.
As a last resort, we will probably look at using one of the neighbouring countries’ stadiums, but pulling out, no, we will not pull out.
Dynamos chairperson Moses Maunganidze said the club is pinning its hopes on The Heart Stadium which is owned by Walter Magaya, a local church leader. He said:
For now, we are pinning our hopes on Heart Stadium, if it does pass the CAF test.
We are also told that they should be done with renovations at the National Sports Stadium by April.
So, it is our prayer that the stadiums pass the CAF tests.
Both Ngezi and Dynamos also need to have women’s teams in line with another CAF requirement aimed at promoting the growth of the female game on the continent.
Maswiswi said Ngezi may adopt a women’s team or partner with another club. He expressed confidence that by the time they get to the registration process, the club will have a women’s team.