RENOVATIONS at Sakubva Stadium will get national attention when the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports visits the football and athletics competitions venue on Monday.
A statement from the provincial Sports and Recreation Commission confirmed that the Parly Committee will tour Sakubva Stadium as part of its whirlwind nationwide tour of similar sports venues.
The ceremonial home for Manicaland football folks has not been hosting top-flight football matches since 2017 owing to substandard conditions that left the country’s football authorities with no choice, but not to register it as a match venue.
However, renovations have been going on in recent months with the custodians of the facility – Mutare City Council – saying the match venue will have a VVIP section upon completion of their renovation works.
While Mutare had gone for more than two years without Premiership football action at Sakubva Stadium due to the derelict state of the facility, the local authority’s determination to spruce up the venue has brought hope especially in recent months.
The ongoing Covid-19 lockdown has been somewhat a blessing in disguise for the custodians of Sakubva Stadium as it has presented them with an opportunity to put their house in order well before the resumption of football action.
However, renovation works had been stopped briefly owing to the shortage of construction material and funding mainly due to the low revenue flows as a result of the lockdown.
Council is now back on track.
Spren Mutiwi, the Mutare City Council’s spokesperson recently confirmed that they had resumed refurbishment works.
“City of Mutare has resumed work at Sakubva Stadium. Currently, the artisans are working on installing showers and toilets in the renovated changing rooms.
“Just like we have noted before, we are working towards meeting the expectations of the Zifa inspection criteria. Work had stopped temporarily, but we are now picking up the tempo,” he said in a recent interview.
Mutiwi said efforts are underway to install a VVIP section and revamp the VIP section.
“The media section will also be revamped, while the roofing for the tunnel is expected to be carried out in the coming weeks,” said Mutiwi.
“We have started an ambitious programme on the VVIP section. We have reached out to our key partners to see the possibility of constructing one.
“We are racing against time because we need to ensure that when the top-flight league kicks off this year, our facility should be ready for use.”
Zifa informed Mutare City Council and other local authorities that have the same assignment to update the football association when they finish renovations so that another inspection exercise can be carried out to approve use of their facilities.
The country’s football mother body recently informed the Premier Soccer League that none of the stadiums in Harare were approved for use during the 2020 season.
Barbourfields, Luveve, Gibbo, Vengere, Baobab and Mandava are the six stadiums that were approved, while Rufaro and the National Sports Stadium (NSS) can still be re-inspected.
It is hoped that Sakubva Stadium will soon join the list of approved stadiums.