MUTARE City Council chose to go for broke after the local authority insisted on its long term renovations of the turf and drainage system at Sakubva Stadium, set to start on July 1 and last seven months, Post Sport has established.
The latest development means that crazy Mutare football fans will have to endure a whole year without top-flight league action on their doorstep as the facility undergoes the long term turf and drainage system renovations.
The decision effectively blocks businessman, Isau Mupfumi’s attempts to provide short term renovations that were aimed at convincing domestic football authorities to immediately lift the suspension of the facility from hosting Premiership matches.
Sakubva Stadium was banned from hosting Castle Lager Premiership matches, and since the start of the season, the Mutare sports facility has been sidelined on the list of match venues that are hosting top-flight league football owing to the state of the turf.
The only Premiership team in Mutare – Manica Diamonds – have been playing their home matches far away from home at Gibbo Stadium in Triangle.
In his response to questions emailed by Post Sport, City of Mutare’s acting Town Clerk, Blessing Chafesuka stated: “City of Mutare has already engaged a contractor. The start date for the works is July 1, 2023, and the contractor is currently doing mobilisation which is at an advanced stage.
“City of Mutare’s position on the proposed assistance by Mupfumi in renovating Sakubva Stadium is that his request for temporary works is no longer acceptable, since the current mobilisation works are at an advanced stage and are expected to be completed within seven months. Allowing temporary works will make it difficult to meet the set target.”
The local authority, however, notes that it is still welcoming support from the corporate sector.
“However, council is willing to accept any form of assistance as evidenced by a full council resolution of the meeting held on April 17, 2023.
“The resolution says: The council accepts assistance from the corporate sector or well-wishers on the upgrading of Sakubva Stadium.
“That the assistance fits into the scope of work required to be done in line with the Premier Soccer League inspection reports, CAF guidelines and council plans and that the rehabilitation of the turf and drainage system need to be done using the contractor that the council will hire as identified through its tender process.
“There are other major works that are still available for support. The other outstanding works for the stadium are cited in the Premier Soccer League report and they include the following: segregation of the home and away team zones, repair of the perimeter fence and the VIP fence, provision for the storm water drain covers, new ablution facilities for the VIPs, painting of the evacuation gates and provision of standard technical area with dug-outs. If there are any well-wishers who wish to assist, they must be guided by the above.”
Admittedly, Zimbabwe has a major problem of unacceptable deterioration of sporting facilities and football match venues have become topical only because of the huge following that sport enjoys.
The approval and disapproval processes of match itself is mired in controversy that borders on alleged regionalism and corrupt tendencies on the part of duty bearers in domestic football administration.
Currently, the Premier Soccer League is embroiled in a nasty misunderstanding with new-boys and Gweru-based Shesham whose renovated Bata Stadium was deemed fit to host top-flight league football matches by the First Instance Body (FIB) – the ZIFA arm responsible for homologating match venues as per FIFA Club Licencing standards.
The club went on to host Highlanders at Bata Stadium and with Bosso not raising any complains, the PSL suddenly issued a communique suspending the same football match venue which the FIB had sanctioned.
Such is the confusion within the domestic football administration corridors!