Specifics needed in Afcon bid

HARARE - To give credit where it is due, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi is a “reasonable” individual, as his ideas are often impressive and captivating.

But it is quite clear that he might not have known what he is getting himself into when he announced the race to enter the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations bid following Libya’s withdrawal.

Despite our misgivings about Mzembi’s role to spearhead Zimbabwe’s quest to host Africa’s largest soccer showpiece — clearly not his forte, but Sport minister Andrew Langa’s — it also plausible to say that our government has no appreciation of what it takes to host the Afcon.

With a week before the September 30 deadline for bid submissions, there are no tangible budgets and the football facilities are in a terrible state.

Zambia, who are bidding to host the 2019 edition, are already midway through in their preparations for a tournament that’s four years away.

Already, they have two ultra-modern stadiums which are fit to host even if the tournament was starting tomorrow.

The difference between us and the Zambians is that their campaign is being led by footballing people.

Kalusha Bwalya, the Football Association of Zambia president, was an award-winning player who has also turned out to be an astute administrator too.

Only last month, the former African Footballer of the Year received the Confederation of African Football (Caf) executive committee in Lusaka to show them the two stadiums already in place to be used for their 2019 bid.

In that showcase, Bwalya not only gave assurances to Issa Hayatou’s men for completion of the rest, but also showed them medical facilities within the vicinity of stadiums — as per Fifa requirements for host nations.

Having been impressed by the Zambians preparations, we await Caf’s decision today.

And yesterday, the Zambians pulled another masterstroke by announcing they would be using the majestic Victoria Falls as bait.

But here, it appears our bid is all over the place.

We seem to be under the impression that hosting Afcon is akin to staging the UNWTO conference — where one big conference centre is adequate.

Last week, Mzembi was telling us that China would bankroll the bid, but did not go into details.

A few days later, Langa tells us that Libya will also help — ostensibly to build stadia and other infrastructure — and we await to see if this troubled north African nation will chip in.

While it is a fact that Harare and Tripoli enjoyed cordial relations during the days of slain dictator Muammah Gaddafi, it is not given that the current regime still remains Zimbabwe’s friend.


Comments (4)

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GALLERYCARTRIDGES - 22 September 2014

Lets have world class facilities that can host world CAF tourneys. Our stadiums, roads and hotels, should just be world class and enough to meet CAF requirements. Kwete zvekuita zvenzara nzara tichibatanidze with other countries,

tendai mhosva - 22 September 2014

stadium dzedu + dzeku zambia = AFCON 2017. Thats just pathetic. Lets quitely build our own world class facilities and bid for future events when we will be ready

Chizunguza - 22 September 2014

I don`t see Zim succeeding in it`s bid to host the tournament by 2017 considering that we have elections the following year. Unless the other party wants to use the bid as a campaign tool. If history is anything to go by the bid is ill timed. Afcon + Election fever = Disaster

generalo - 22 September 2014

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