Following the Confederation of African Football (CAF) decision to ban all local stadia from hosting international matches, Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry has revealed that government has engaged various stakeholders to upgrade Barbourfields and National Sports Stadiums and work has already started.
In a statement, Coventry admitted to complacency on the part of her ministry in addressing the issue which is likely to force the national team to play its home matches outside the country.
“As Zimbabweans, you are no doubt aware, the upgrading of the Barbourfields and National Sports Stadiums has started. You are right, we should never have waited this long to do it but it is now being done.
“There are multiple stakeholders involved in our sports facilities and my Ministry is working with the Ministry of Local Government and the Municipalities to ensure that our Stadiums meet the CAF criteria,” she said.
Coventry also expressed pleasure with the urgency stadia upgrading is being handled by involved stakeholders.
“We all know Sport is an important part of our economy and I am delighted to see the seriousness with which this situation has been taken. I am also pleasantly surprised at the urgency with which work is being undertaken by all stakeholders. There will always be repairs and maintenance required and this will be better managed going forward,” she added.
Coventry, an ex-athlete with a record seven Olympic medals, promised to ensure that athletes have greater opportunities to succeed through providing quality training and competition facilities.
“The CAF decision has given us a real opportunity to improve conditions for our Athletes. Our Athletes must be at the forefront of our decisions in sport and as an ex-athlete, I want to ensure our current and future athletes have greater opportunities to succeed so they can continue to raise our flag. I know how important it is for athletes to have quality training and competition facilities. If we can provide this to you, our athletes, you will flourish. Thank you for your continued passion for sport and our country,” she said.