Zimbabwe is in race with time to have the National Stadium in Harare ready to host Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the qualifier of the 2026 FIFA World Cup that will be jointly hosted in Canada, Mexico and the United States of America.
FIFA lifted the ban on Zimbabwe after 17-month suspension last week, and the government is jostling to have the National Sports Stadium in Harare ready to host international matches.
All stadia in the country are barred from hosting international matches after failing to meet minimum standards set by the global football body.
The Brave Warriors will battle Nigeria, Benin, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Lesotho in Group C for the group’s sole ticket and take part in a play-off if they finish as one of the best runner-ups from the groups.
In their meetings, Zimbabwe lost home and away while they have faced Nigeria on seven occasions, losing four, playing three draws and defeating the Super Eagles only once.
Zimbabwe’s only win over Nigeria came in 1981 when the Warriors triumphed 2-0 on home soil.
Their last meeting in World Cup qualifiers was for the 2006 edition when Zimbabwe were thumped 3-0 at home before they were walloped 5-1 in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, ZIFA normalisation committee, led by former Dynamos chairperson Lincoln Mutasa will have to come up with a national team coach after the last coach, Norman Mapeza’s deal expired following the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.