Lovemore Kadzura in RUSAPE
RUSAPE’S Vengere Stadium has been added to the list of grounds that have been provisionally cleared to host 2020 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League matches.
Vengere Stadium joins Gibbo Stadium in Triangle, Chiredzi; Barbourfields and Luveve, both in Bulawayo; Mandava in Zvishavane and Baobab in Mhondoro-Ngezi, which were also approved by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) First Instance Body on Monday.
A statement from Zifa general secretary Joseph Mamutse read in part: “The Zimbabwe Football Association hereby informs your esteemed office that the following stadiums have been provisionally homologated by the First Instance Body for the 2020 season – Gibbo, Vengere, Barbourfields, Luveve, Mandava and Baobab.
“For re-inspection of other stadiums, the procedure is as follows: Recommendation from the FIB stadiums report should be adhered to, pictures and progress report should be sent first and FIB will assess whether to send an inspection team or not.”
Since 2015, Vengere has been the only stadium in Manicaland that has been eligible to host top-flight football. It has been home to Dongo Sawmills, Buffaloes, Mutare City Rovers and Manica Diamonds.
Following concerns on the state of the stadium, Rusape Town Council has finally attended to the problematic issue of the uneven playing field by levelling the pitch and planting a new lawn.
The playing field has also been realigned to be perfectly rectangular as required by football authorities. In addition, the spectator segregation fence, signage around the stadium, as well as facilities for the disabled have also been attended to.
Modern changing rooms are the only outstanding requirement, although the existing ones have been extensively upgraded.
Rusape Town Council acting director of housing and social services Mr Munetsi Chitongo was happy that football authorities were appreciating and rewarding their efforts in upgrading the 5 000-seater stadium.
“We are excited that Zifa and PSL have cleared our stadium to host Castle Lager Premier Soccer League matches. As council, we are pouring a lot of resources into upgrading our stadium,” said Chitongo.
Football authorities have been tough on stadiums that fail to meet their minimum requirements and have since struck off stadiums such as Rufaro, Gwanzura, Lafarge and National Sports Stadium, among others.