Ray Bande Senior Reporter
TOP-flight league football could be played at Sakubva Stadium this year exactly three years after the Mutare match venue last hosted a Castle Lager Premiership match.
The construction of the pre-cast wall has been completed and refurbishment works are now moving to the interior facilities such as changing rooms, perimeter fence and media box.
Mutare City Council has commendably left no stone unturned in a short space of time to finalise refurbishment works both on the pre-cast wall and amenities inside the stadium.
The local authority, which had come under fire for turning a blind eye to the need to renovate the popular match venue, finally did the right thing in the last two months and today football enthusiasts in the eastern border city are anxiously looking forward to exciting weekends of top-flight football action at Sakubva Stadium.
On its Facebook page, Mutare City Council noted: “City of Mutare has completed the construction of the perimeter wall at Sakubva Stadium, and currently, the officials are busy working on the turf to ensure that it conforms to the requirements.
“Very soon we shall be erecting razor wire on the perimeter wall and the internal perimeter fence, in compliance with the Inspection Committee which came to check the state of readiness, we shall also expand the dressing room.
“We still remain hopeful that we shall complete the outstanding work and ensure that the stadium will be ready by the time the final inspection is carried out.
“We implore all the teams promoted into the PSL to also play a part same as the corporate world and ensure that we speed up the process of upgrading the Sakubva Stadium.
“We want to ensure that the huge investment that has been put by the council will begin to generate revenue as teams make use of the stadium key partners that include Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services as well as Manica Diamonds.”
A visit at Sakubva Stadium this week revealed that indeed the construction of the pre-cast wall has since been completed and now the remaining works include extending the media box, erection of the perimeter fence, levelling the playing field, installation of the razor wire and gates on the turnstiles.
Possibly, the local authority could be asked to erect a tunnel from the changing rooms to the pitch for the safety of the players.
Manica Diamonds chairman Masimba Chihowa, who was also part of the delegation that visited the stadium with the Zifa First Instance Body (FIB) members early this week, expressed confidence that the match venue will be ready by the time the FIB members return for the second and final inspection.
“We are confident that we will play our home matches at Sakubva Stadium given the pace with which the local authority has moved in renovating the stadium.
“There are areas that the FIB members who came for the first inspection pointed out that they need attention and most of those areas are not costly.
“They (FIB) are coming back for the second and final inspection during the first week of March and we really hope that by then everything will be in place,” said Chihowa, who has also contributed in his personal capacity towards the renovation of the turf.
While football clubs that use the facility have not been forthcoming in contributing towards the renovations, some individuals like Sakubva socialite and player manager Donald Manhende and football administrator Cecilia Gambe have contributed in a small way from their personal savings.