Platinum offer to charter plane

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Premiership outfit FC Platinum has pledged to charter a plane from either Bulawayo or Harare for their Caf Champions League football matches in a bid to continue playing at their home ground, Mandava Stadium, in Zvishavane.

If Caf does not accept this offer, Platinum have to confirm an alternative venue today.

This follows Caf’s letter to Zifa that Platinum, who are due to play El Merreikh of Sudan in the first round on March 24, should not use the Zvishavane venue because of accommodation issues and the fact that visiting teams and match officials will stay 90km away from the stadium.

Platinum hosted Green Mamba of Swaziland two weeks ago in the second leg of the competition where the visitors and match officials stayed in Masvingo leading to Merreikh’s letter of concern to Caf.

Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze confirmed yesterday that he had written an appeal to Caf after consultations with Platinum.

Platinum secretary-general Phil Muvengwa said the team’s management committee had not yet discussed an alternative venue.

Wrote Mashingaidze to Abla Hassan, director competitions division, yesterday: “The Zimbabwe Football Association is in receipt of your letter dated 11th March 2012 pertaining to the use of Mandava Stadium by FC Platinum during Caf Champions League matches.

“The Association appreciates that Mandava Stadium is 190km and 389km from Bulawayo and Harare respectively.

“Harare is the capital city and Bulawayo is the second largest city. Bulawayo and Harare have international airports which any team from Africa can access through South Africa on a daily basis.

“The Association would like to propose that El Merreikh and subsequent opponents of FC Platinum land either in Harare or Bulawayo whereupon the team would use a chartered plane to travel to Zvishavane, where Mandava Stadium is situated. Flights from either Harare or Bulawayo are less than 30 minutes long. The same would apply to match officials. The team and match officials would be accommodated in Masvingo which is 90km from Zvishavane.

“It is our submission that staging Caf club games in places like Zvishavane is in keeping with the spirit of growing the game of football. We respect Caf’s Rules and Regulations in terms of hosting Caf Competitions and to that end we confirm the contingency plans for visiting teams and match officials.”

Part of the letter written by Caf to Zifa on Sunday read: “The match (between Platinum and Mamba) was played in a refurbished Mandava Stadium located in the City of Zvishavane that belongs to FC Platinum which is in good conditions, has good facilities but very hard access (but) you can’t find affordable accommodation (in the town),” Caf head of clubs competitions Essam Ahmed said in a letter to Zifa.

“The visiting team was accommodated at Masvingo too. The distance from Masvingo to the match venue is 95km. This was too hard for both match officials and the visiting team to test the playground.

“We would also like to remind you (that) if the distance between the capital city and the venue of the match is superior to 200km the host association shall provide the visitors with an airplane transport to the venue of the match and back.

“If this is not possible, the match shall be played in the capital city except by agreement between the two teams.

“Consequently you are kindly requested to change the venue — Mandava Stadium — and your future matches to another venue that has the necessary requirements to host Caf matches.

“Consequently, we would like to re-confirm the decision of changing the venue Mandava Stadium and play your future matches in another venue that has the necessary requirements to host Caf matches and confirm to us the alternative venue within the next 48hrs.”