ZIMBABWE will bid to host the 2021 Total African Cup of Nations finals, the Zimbabwe Football Association president Philip Chiyangwa has revealed, following reports that the government was willing to support them.
By Tafadza Ndiraire
Speaking at the Warriors training session at prophet Walter Magaya’s PHD ministry complex in Waterfalls, Chiyangwa said he had made inquiries about the possibility of Zimbabwe hosting an African football competition and was advised by the government through the ministry of sport that they could go ahead and bid for the 2021 competition.
The Zifa president, who is also the Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) president, however, said there was need to upgrade stadia in the country so that they meet international standards.
He said even the National Sports Stadium needed some refurbishment to make it a modern stadium.
“ I would want to see to it that our stadia are upgraded. Even the National Sports Stadium is not modern enough and needs to be upgraded. I am not saying we don’t have stadia, we do have Rufaro, Gwanzura, Arcadia and we have got this PHD Stadium. I am keen to see to it that there is an upgrade of facilities. If you saw pictures of stadia coming out of Gabon, we need something like that, state of the art facilities. I think pertaining to the upgrading facilities and development its something that should be taken seriously and these bids should be embraced by all Zimbabweans. Its not something that you dream of and then put aside because they will do a preliminary inspection as an informative assignment. You need three to four years,” said Chiyangwa.
Magaya who was also part of the delegation pledged to support the upgrading of the facilities and revealed that he was targeting to complete the facility at the PHD ministry which he said would also be used as one of the venues.
The prophet also said he would also construct a similar facility in Bulawayo where he also have a housing project he was working on.
This is not the first time Zimbabwe will be bidding to host the African Cup of Nations tournament.
Zimbabwe was previously given the rights to host the tournament in 2000, but those rights were withdrawn at the last minute with Caf citing illpreparedness and lack of a government guarantee. Nigeria and Ghana later co-hosted the tournament.
But with Chiyangwa now in an influential position as Cosafa president, there is hope that the dream could be a reality. However, that will depend on the government’s commitment to the bid.