Moffat Mungazi Sports Correspondent
FOOTBALL enthusiasts in Manicaland have expressed confidence that the ongoing renovations at Sakubva Stadium will be completed in time before the new season kicks off and pave way for the return of Premiership action to the city’s citadel of soccer.
The facility last hosted top-flight league games over three years ago following its condemnation by the local governing authorities after failing to meet set standards.
Since then, teams like Buffaloes, Mutare City Rovers and Manica Diamonds — resident in Manicaland’s provincial capital Mutare — have had to use alternative venues like Rusape’s Vengere and Gibbo in Triangle.
But with refurbishments on the stadium having taken shape and gathered pace, excitement is building up among football lovers.
Chikanga-based staunch Buffaloes supporter, Baldwin Chidzikwe has commended the city fathers and other stakeholders who are working on the refurbishment of the stadium.
“At long last something is happening at Sakubva.
“I have been to the site and everything looks on point. The progress made so far is really impressive and the stadium is now transformed.
“Getting started was all we needed. I am happy with the headway because everything is falling into place. Overall, this is set to improve our game since we have raised the standards of the facility,” enthused Chidzikwe.
Prospects of Sakubva hosting Mutare football’s Mother of All Battles has set pulses racing for Thomas Gwara, a Nyanga resident.
“With much ground already covered with these renovations, we are excited that watching the local derby between Manica Diamonds and Tenax at our doorstep is upon us.
“That double-legged duel playing out at Sakubva will be a perfect scene for soccer euphoria in the city as this has never occurred before.
“Also, this occasion shall raise Mutare’s profile on the national football calendar.
“I can hardly wait for the games’ resumption following the Covid-19 lockdown pause.”
For Victor Makarati in Hobhouse, the Sakubva make-over is a case of better late than never.
“That the venue was crying out for a major facelift was undeniable.
“The fact that the PSL had banned its use pointed to the sorry state it was in. Having slept on duty, this is redemption time for Mutare City Council.
“It might have taken long but the important thing is that work is now in progress.
“Having the stadium ready by the time the season finally comes around will be ideal, but even if that target is missed we draw comfort from the fact that one day Sakubva will satisfy the requirements.
“We are getting there,” noted Makarati.
If the facility eventually gets the nod, crowd-pulling giants Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United will set foot at Sakubva for a combined half-a-dozen times during visits against the Gem Boys and Chauya Chikara.
This will be a bonus for Manicaland fans.
“Having the stadium approved will bring the action closer to home as this affords us the opportunity to watch our favourite teams in action,” said Nyakazai Makotore of Chipinge.
“Besides coming for Makepekepe games, my mission at Sakubva will be rooting for the home sides — Manica Diamonds and Tenax — against traditional foes DeMbare and Bosso.
“I am really looking forward to enjoying every moment of it since it promises thrilling experiences. For the hosts, these occasions shall be good for business.
“The city also stands to benefit from the influx of travelling fans since these established teams attract huge numbers,” said Makotore.