Warriors miss out on perfect ‘homecoming’ vs Super Eagles

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Had Zimbabwe refurbished its stadiums to meet international standards, the 2026 World Cup qualifier against the Super Eagles of Nigeria would have been a perfect ‘homecoming’ for the Warriors in November.

By Bhorafrika

Zimbabwe’s senior men team has been out of action since their last group match at the Africa Cup of Nations finals, a 2-1 win against Guinea and Naby Keita on 18 January 2022 in Cameroon.

Banned from international football for government interference in football operations, Zimbabwe’s national teams have been idle for close to 18 months now.

In that period, local authorities have not managed to upgrade their stadiums to meet standards required by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

With Zambia also facing Zimbabwe’s stadium predicament for the first two World Cup qualifiers, the Warriors will likely host Nigeria in Botswana on match day 2 of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Before worrying about where to host Nigeria, the Warriors would have played Rwanda in Rwanda the opening World Cup qualifier during the November 13-21 international break.

Part of the normalisation that the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee has to do is to apply for a stadium upgrade project so that Zimbabwe can also play home games in Zimbabwe.

The inadequacies of the national sports stadium were first raised by CAF in 2019, but the government has failed to upgrade the facility to international standards. The stadium was also closed for local premiership games in June 2023.

The other eight 2026 World Cup qualifiers will be played in 2024 and 2025.

MD1 Rwanda vs Zimbabwe (13-21 November 2023)

MD2 Zimbabwe vs Nigeria (13-21 November 2023)

MD3 Zimbabwe vs Lesotho (3-11 June 2024)

MD4 South Africa vs Zimbabwe (3-11 June 2024)

MD5 Zimbabwe vs Benin (17-25 March 2025)

MD6 Nigeria vs Zimbabwe (17-25 March 2025)

MD7 Benin vs Zimbabwe (1-9 September 2025)

MD8 Zimbabwe vs Rwanda (1-9 September 2025)

MD9 Zimbabwe vs South Africa (6-14 October 2025)

MD10 Lesotho vs Zimbabwe (6-14 October 2025)

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