THE Government could procure bucket seats locally while hoping CAF will clear the National Sports Stadium to host the Warriors’ 2022 AFCON qualifier against Algeria in November.
With no fans expected for the match, Government feel CAF could waive the requirement for the bucket seats ahead of the showdown against the African champions.
The Government, through the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, have covered significant ground in upgrading the venue, including transforming the playing surface, and providing a facelift to the medical, changing and anti-doping rooms.
A fully-furnished media centre, with a capacity of 54 people, has been installed, there is also a press conference room while ablution and drainage facilities have all been improved.
Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation Deputy Minister, Tino Machakaire, said they were hoping CAF will allow the Warriors to host the African champions in Zimbabwe in November.
“We are hoping that we can get a waiver from CAF, and be allowed to use the National Sports Stadium, without bucket seats,” said Machakaire.
“We have been severely affected by the Covid-19 lockdown and we weren’t able to procure some of the material needed for the renovations.
“But, we have already resumed work and it looks very promising and we hope CAF will allow the stadium to host the match against Algeria in November.
“At the moment, I can’t state in certain terms whether we will be able to install bucket seats right round the stadium before the Algeria game, but we will try to push towards that end.
“This pandemic has affected us and hampered our efforts, otherwise we should have been talking about something else.
“Our hope, to be allowed to use this stadium, hinges on the fact that the match against Algeria will be played without fans and, since everything else is now almost in place, maybe, we will be allowed to play without those bucket seats.”
The ZIFA First Instance Board, led by Piraishe Mabhena, have inspected the giant stadium and they are now awaiting CAF’s response.
Although they have kept some of their findings to themselves, Mabhena recently told The Herald that CAF were particular about bucket seats.
In March, Machakaire said close to US$9 million was needed for both the procurement and installation of the bucket seats.
But, the amount could come down significantly if the material was procured locally, with the Government already working towards flighting a tender for local businesses to bid.
“As a ministry, we are happy and very impressed with the progress which has been made in as far as the renovations of the National Sports Stadium is concerned,” said Machakaire.
“Things are looking fine as most of the boxes have been ticked. We are now waiting for very few things, like the turnstiles, while we are still yet to sort out the issue of bucket seats.
“On bucket seats, we are definitely going to consider our local people.
“What is important is to ensure compliance with the recommendations by CAF.
“We can’t import everything as we have people who are capable of doing that for us.
“We have talked to the procurement team, and the stadium renovation committee, to flight a tender for the bucket seats.
“By the end of next week, we should be in a position to know the way forward. We are hoping, just hoping, that the National Sports Stadium will be cleared to host the match against Algeria on a technicality.”
Machakaire toured the facility yesterday to get an insight of the progress that has taken place and he was accompanied by director of sport and recreation in the Ministry, Eugenia Chidhakwa, communication and advocacy acting deputy director Ranson Madzamba and other technical staff from the ministry.
SRC director general, Prince Mupazviriho, was part of the touring party.