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Date: 22 July 2017

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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BREAKING NEWS: CAF digs in on Mandava Stadium ban

[Posted 19 Mar 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
FC Platinum will have to be content on playing El Merreikh away from "home"

News received from the Zimbabwe Football Association office of Communications manager Nicky Dhlamini indicates that the Confederation of African Football has refused to budge on the issue of stripping Mandava Stadium of its status as a suitable venue for hosting Platinum's Champions League matches in the future.

After numerous e-mail exchanges involving FC Platinum, CAF and El Merreikh, the continental soccer governing body has stuck to its guns. FC Platinum have to host El Merreikh in the capital Harare or elsewhere but not their home ground of Mandava.

The reason for the decision remains the same. That is, the stated reason that Zvishavane does not have a three star hotel, the nearest hotel being in Masvingo, 95 km from Mandava stadium. El Merreikh has spurned FC Platinum' s offer to charter a plane to Mandava.

In a letter to ZIFA, CAF Secretary General Hicham El Amrani confirmed Caf's decision.

"Reference to your e-mail of the 18th March 2012 regarding the venue of the match in question, we hereby repeat that since the distance from Masvingo where the visiting team will be accommodated to Mandava Stadium is 95 km which makes it very hard for match officials and visiting teams to test the ground.

"Hence we would like to re-confirm CAF decisions on 7th & 11th March 2012 that the match shall not be held at Mandava Stadium.

"Consequently you are kindly requested to change the venue of Mandava and play your future matches in another venue that has the necessary requirements to host the CAF matches and confirm to us the alternative venue within the next 24 hours," read El Amrani's letter sent to Zifa on Monday. 

CAF certainly behaves in the most of inconsistent manners.

Caf has allowed other teams elsewhere in North and West Africa to host matches on very unsuitable pitches, and visiting clubs to be hosted in hotels not befitting of international A-rated matches.

Complaints from visiting teams from Southern and East Africa regarding unsportsmalike treatment by other teams, chiefls from North and West Africa have often fallen on deaf ears at Caf.

Even more puzzling is the fact that about ten years ago, the same Caf allowed Shabanie Mine FC to host a Caf Confederations match at Maglas Stadium in the same town of Zvishavane.

Questions will be raised as to why Caf never saw any problems with Zvishavane as a town back then. There was still no 3-star hotel in Zvishavane then. So what has changed all of a sudden, and why are rules suddenly relevant?

Lets put this case into perspective: The team visiting, El Merreikh, is from an Arab-speaking nation of Sudan, and a north African country for that matter. Ofcourse, Caf has to protect the interests of the North and West African clubs and national teams at all cost.

In Caf's world, the welfare and interests of teams from Southern Africa and East Africa matter little when they clash with those of teams from the North and West Africa. Unless ofcourse, you are a country with the financial muscle and political profile like South Africa who cannot easily bullied.

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