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Zifa to brainstorm over return of international football

Zifa to brainstorm over return of international football

THE ZIFA board member in charge of competitions, Sugar Chagonda, says they will meet to discuss the possible return of international football in November.

CAF announced this week the 2021 AFCON qualifiers will resume in three months time but doubts still persist.

Zimbabwe and Algeria are scheduled to play their back-to-back qualifiers between November 9-17.

“This is certainly a new development and we will be sitting down to reflect on our situation and what could be the best way forward,’’ said Chagonda.

“Of course, we knew these games would be played. It’s only that circumstances couldn’t permit.

“We are going to look at the situation closely and see what suits us.’’

ZIFA were also in a fix, when the qualifiers were halted in March, after CAF ordered the Warriors to look for an alternative venue for their home games against the Desert Foxes.

The National Sports Stadium and Barbourfields failed to meet the minimum conditions for a match of such stature.

Government, and the local authorities, have been working on renovating the National Sports Stadium and Barbourfields.

“This hasn’t been a good year, we almost went to play our home game against Algeria in South Africa but the Covid-19 pandemic gave us a breather to work on our shortcomings with regards to the stadia,’’ said Chagonda.

“I understand the authorities also set up a budget to address that area and we really appreciate that.

“But, as you know, the pace hasn’t been that quick because of the lockdown measures implemented to curb the spread of the virus.

“So, there is need for more consultations to up the game, in terms of refurbishment, and also for our preparedness, as the football authorities.

“The last time that our inspection team went around, there were reports that work was being done on the venues around the country.

“With team work, and a shared vision, I am sure that by November we could be good to go.’’

International football has been in limbo across the continent over the past five months.

Algeria lead Group H of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers with six points while Zimbabwe are second on four points after two rounds of play. Zimbabwe also face another headache with Warriors coach, Zdravko Logarusic, stuck in his home country in Croatia, due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions.

“I must admit the coach’s tenure didn’t start well,’’ said Chagonda.

“We all wanted him to be on the ground, and sweating it out, for his dollar.

“But, what happened, just at the moment he was supposed to get down to work, was an act of nature, which no one could have control over.

“Coronavirus has affected everyone.

“What is critical is what has he been doing during this lockdown period.

“Everyone knew that these games will one day be played, and it has happened that CAF have announced the new dates.

“We believe he is a professional coach who doesn’t need to be monitored. We believe he has a strategy, he has his plans to cover up for the lost time, during this Covid-19 lockdown.

“Obviously, he has his approach and we are going to give him our maximum support in implementing his strategy.”

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