BULAWAYO football fans have reacted angrily to Caf’s decision to move the Warriors’ Total Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Botswana from Barbourfields Stadium to the National Sports Stadium.
The match will now be played in Harare at 6PM on November 15. This is the second time this year that a last-minute decision has been made to move a match set for Barbourfields Stadium to the capital. The first was the Fifa World Cup preliminary match against Somalia.
This week’s Caf decision to move the match came after the Bulawayo City Council failed to guarantee that Barbourfields Stadium’s floodlights are functioning properly. The lights were last used in 2017 during the Cosafa Women’s Championship.
Zimbabwe Soccer Supporters’ Association vice-chairman Carl Marx Nkomo expressed disappointment with the change of venue.
“It’s really disappointing that Bulawayo football fans have to watch our national team in Harare all the time. After such a long time, we were ready to watch the boys play in Bulawayo, only to be shut out again at the 11th hour. Fans had made a date with this fixture, but we’ve now all been left disappointed again,” said Nkomo.
“I’m certain there could have been a way to handle the lighting issue. We had all the time to do so. At least we should have been told in time that the game will be moved rather than for the association to wait this late to update us. What puzzles me most is that the Bulawayo City Council could not guarantee that the lights are working without even testing them. Football fans in
Bulawayo are not happy and I hope when the national team comes to Bulawayo, Zifa would have apologised to fans from Bulawayo and surrounding areas,” he said.
Nkomo’s sentiments were echoed by a number of football fans in and around Bulawayo who pinned all the blame on Zifa.