CUSTODIANS of Sakubva Stadium – City of Mutare – have started working on areas that the football authorities deemed the facility unfit for it to host Premier Soccer League matches and called on teams using the facility to play ball in renovating the match venue to acceptable standards.
In an interview following the suspension of Sakubva Stadium from hosting PSL matches last week, City of Mutare spokesperson Spren Mutiwi said the procurement process of goalposts as well as installation of new turf is already underway.
Mutiwi did not give the actual time frame when the renovations would be complete.
“We are working on the areas that were highlighted and we have already started the procurement process for the goal posts. Procurement of the service provider to provide a new turf has failed twice and we had already had those plans as Council, had it not been for the failure of the tender, I am sure the situation would have been resolved by now.
“So we have focused and directed our attention on attending to the problem areas highlighted. I am confident we shall do exceptionally well because these works we consider them minor considering what we did during the overhaul of upgrading the facility,” said the City of Mutare spokesperson.
Mutiwi called on the Manicaland corporate sector as well as teams using the facility to chip in with assistance and possibly benefit from branding their products within the stadium.
“While we are making frantic efforts we also call upon the corporate world and the teams who are the beneficiaries not to adopt a backseat approach but to be proactive and join hands with council. We did it alone last time but I am sure in all fairness the teams have a role to play to contribute towards a better facility,” he said.
Mutare correctional services outfit Tenax C.S FC and Chicken Inn Sunday’s league encounter was moved from the Mutare football match venue to Vengere Stadium in Rusape.
Sakubva Stadium will only host top flight league matches subject to the outcome of an inspection that will be done after City of Mutare has completes renovation works in areas cited by the First Instance Body (FIB) – Zifa’s arm responsible for approval and banning of facilities unfit to host top flight league football.
FIB officials were in Mutare on Tuesday last week for the inspection of Sakubva Stadium.
Play had to be stopped in the 51st minutes for 26 minutes in Sunday’s Premier Soccer League match between Manica Diamonds and Bulawayo City FC after the crossbar collapsed when Bulawayo City goalkeeper Reward Muza swung on it.
The collapse of the goalpost coupled with a deteriorating turf owing to overuse is understood to have prompted the PSL to request an inspection of the Mutare facility to determine whether it is still fit to host top flight league matches.
In a progressive development, all the teams that have been using Sakubva Stadium for their daily training session have since stopped and sought alternative training grounds, resulting in a marginal improvement of the state of the turf in the past two weeks.
From Tuesday to Friday every week three different teams were using Sakubva Stadium for training with the first club using the facility from 8am to 10am while the next one is on the field of play from 10am to around 1pm.
The last team of the day to use the facility for training would start at 2pm until 5pm.
During some Fridays, Eastern Region Division One teams and women football teams take turns to use Sakubva Stadium as their home ground for league matches.
Saturday and Sunday the stadium was then reserved for competitive Castle Lager Premiership matches where four teams – Cranborne Bullets, Black Rhinos, Tenax C.S FC and Manica Diamonds – take turns to host their opponents of the day.
Technically, Monday was the only day of the week when Sakubva stadium has a chance to get meaningful maintenance works simply because no club has a training session nor competitive match schedule on Monday.