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ZIFA to attend continental symposium in Morocco

ZIFA'S top brass will get a chance to exchange notes on football development with about 200 representatives from across the continent when they attend a study day to be held at the Mohamed VI Football Complex in Salé, a city in north-western Morocco.

The symposium is being organised by FIFA together with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and is scheduled for 1 February. The seminar, which will be attended by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and his CAF counterpart, Ahmad Ahmad, precedes an all-important CAF executive meeting set for 2 February.

Zifa communications manager, Xolisani Gwesela confirmed they will be sending representatives to the symposium.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of football infrastructure crisis with all but Barbourfields Stadium having been banned from hosting official CAF competitions.

In fact, CAF has warned ZIFA that failure to upgrade the stadiums could mean that in future ZImbabwe will be forced to play its home matches in neighbouring countries. The warning came after the continental football mother body inspected the country's facilities in November before ruling that the giant National Sports Stadium in Harare no longer meets their standards to host international matches.

Until then, the National Sports Stadium was being used for all national team games after Rufaro Stadium fell short of CAF standards in 2018.

Meanwhile, Africa's top Futsal nations will jostle for three FIFA Futsal World Cup spots when they meet in the 6th edition of the tournament to be held in Laayoun, Morocco.

Eight nations descend upon the north African country and begin their quest to book places at the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup on Tuesday (28 January) with the final set for 7 February.

Futsal is a variant of association football played on a hard court, smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. It has similarities to five-a-side football.

Hosts Morocco are the defending champions and will face off with Libya, Equatorial Guinea and debutantes Mauritius in Group A. Group B pits record three-time champions Egypt, Guinea, Angola and Mozambique.

"We are delighted as a country to be hosting this event. We believe because of our readiness and existing facilities CAF has seen it fit for us to once again to play host to one of their prestigious tournaments where the top three coming from this tournament will head to the World Cup in Lithuania later this year," read a Morocco Royal Football Federation statement.

The federation is hopeful that hosting the event will give more impetus on the sport growing in the north African country.

Egypt, who last won the tournament in 2004, are the most successful team in African Futsal history with three titles.

The event is held under the auspices of the CAF for the men's national teams.

The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals. Semi-final winners and third-place winners qualify for 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup. The qualifying three African teams will make up the 24 countries at the World Cup. The 2020 World Cup are scheduled for September 12 to October 4 in Lithuania.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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