The Warriors of Zimbabwe will host the Super Eagles of Nigeria at Kigali Pele Stadium on November 20 as all the stadiums in the Southern African country do not meet the standards set by the world football governing body FIFA.
Zimbabwe’s main facility the National Sports Stadium was banned by FIFA and CAF in November 2019 after it failed a series of inspections.
The other local stadiums such as Rufaro and Barbourfields, which have hosted the Warriors before, have also been condemned by the continental football mother body.
The National Sports Stadium last hosted an international match in November 2021 when Zimbabwe played their last game of the doomed 2022 World Cup campaign against Ethiopia.
Zimbabwe had ample time to renovate their stadia during the country’s 18-month suspension from international football due to government interference.
However nothing was done to improve the standards at local football facilities.
FIFA has now ordered Zimbabwe’s game against Nigeria to be played on a neutral ground and the Zimbabwean Football Association (ZIFA), which is currently being headed by a FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee, has reportedly chose Kigali Pele Stadium which has been approved by the world football governing body.
ZIFA Normalisation Committee chairman Linclon Mutasa said they are still in discussions with their Rwandan counterparts.
“We are working on hosting Nigeria in Rwanda and we are going to inform football stakeholders about it once discussions have been finalised,” said Mutasa.
Zimbabwe will open their account in an away game against Rwanda at Kigali Pele Stadium on November 13 and they will stay behind to welcome Nigeria at the same venue seven days later.
Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa, and Benin are in Group C of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers which begins in November.