FC Platinum Coach Norman Mapeza Highlights Stadium Concerns Following FIFA’s Lift of Zimbabwe’s Suspension
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza is delighted with the recent news that FIFA has lifted its suspension on Zimbabwe’s football association.
However, Mapeza believes that the full celebration can only happen once it is confirmed that national teams will be able to play their home games in the country.
Zimbabwe’s suspension was lifted on Monday, and FIFA has appointed a four-member normalization committee to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) until at least June of next year.
Unfortunately, Zimbabwe currently lacks a suitable stadium to host international matches.
The country’s largest facility, the National Sports Stadium, was flagged by CAF in November 2021 for not meeting international standards. This poses a significant challenge for the nation’s football community.
Mapeza, who led the national team, known as the Warriors, to the 2021 Afcon finals in Cameroon, expressed his concern about the stadium issue.
He emphasized that the long-awaited return of Zimbabwe to the international football scene cannot be fully celebrated until there is a guarantee that national team games will be played within the country.
The coach expressed his worry about the current state of stadiums, noting that games are scheduled for November.
Mapeza referred to a statement made by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Sport, Kirsty Coventry, who mentioned the possibility of completing renovations on the National Sports Stadium in the next few weeks.
However, Mapeza emphasized the importance of fixing the stadium issue before declaring a full return to football.
Mapeza highlighted the enthusiasm of football fans and their desire to watch matches in their own country. He drew a comparison to the support received by the cricket team and expressed the need for similar support in football.
Although Mapeza acknowledged the happiness and excitement surrounding the lifting of the suspension, he maintained that the situation was still uncertain.
Without a proper stadium, there is a possibility that the national team may have to relocate to South Africa to play their World Cup qualifiers.
Regarding his potential role as the next Warriors coach, Mapeza declined to comment, leaving that discussion for another time.
In other news, Zimbabwe has been placed in Group C for the 2026 FIFA World Cup African qualifiers. The Warriors will face tough competition from Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Rwanda, and Lesotho.
The group winners will secure automatic qualification for the global extravaganza, which will be co-hosted by the United States and Mexico.