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Sakunda Holding's Rufaro lease take shape

by Staff reporter
23 Mar 2022 at 05:30hrs | Views
SAKUNDA Holdings have started conducting feasibility studies on Rufaro Stadium with the energy giants yesterday visiting the facility together with officials from the City of Harare.

The energy company is set to get a long-term lease of the venue from the municipality with both parties still studying the scope of the project before officially going to bed.

Sakunda Holdings, who are the principal sponsors of Premiership football giants Dynamos and Highlanders, approached the Harare City Council sometime recently with the proposal to get the venue on a lease and the City of Harare agreed in principle with the authorities there assigning acting Town Clerk, Phakamile Moyo, to write to the energy company.

And yesterday the two organisations had their first visit together to the venue to get an appreciation of the current state of the facility as well as to look into what needs to be done to upgrade it into a modern football stadium.

The entourage also toured the adjacent former Number One Grounds which has now been invaded by vendors selling all sets of wares from clothes to potatoes and even engaged them on what their expectations were before they assessed the entire structures at Rufaro. Sakunda Holdings director, Kuda Tagwirei, said his organisation was determined to transform the venue as part of the company's corporate social investment.

"Rufaro is one of the places where we would choose to go as a way of relaxing after a busy work schedule during the week when I started working. We would come and sit here watching top football matches pitting the best teams including CAPS United, Dynamos and Highlanders," said Tagwirei.

"So it is a tragedy for us to watch the venue like this and leave it going to waste. Our vision as Sakunda Holdings is to enable our initiative to be part of the community. This will enable people to have this place as the go-to place as they play the game and relax while enjoying the game. "We have a programme that we have laid out as Sakunda Holdings. We will start by visiting other stadiums within the region, finances allowing, any other places to allow us to see the kind of international standards which are required for us to also develop a modern facility.

"We are hoping that early April we will start visiting these facilities."

Tagwirei indicated there may not be any need to raze down the entire Rufaro Stadium structures but improve the outlook and make the venue comfortable.

"From a structural perspective, I think that the stadium is okay, nothing much is amiss from it, we just need to carry out some improvements which will allow people to enjoy (watching football) comfortably.

"My hope and prayer is that we will be able to accomplish this as quickly as possible.

"We will do this in a phased approach that allows us to first entertain the PSL and ZIFA programmes and then go into the international programmes.

"I am excited by challenges like this and you will see that we will all enjoy it as we participate together in this programme.

"This is not a Sakunda Holdings project (only), it is a City of Harare and Sakunda project. We are there to see to it that the dream that the City of Harare had becomes successful so that we can all move together as a society. Thank you very much City of Harare for allowing us to participate with you and I pray that this is going to be a successful joint ventureā€¦"

Sakunda Holdings will work on the overall outlook of the facility including car park and the general road network as well as transforming the Number One grounds that are adjacent to Rufaro.

Acting Town Clerk, Moyo, said although the MoU is yet to be finalised, the two parties are already at an advanced stage of agreeing terms of the lease.

"The MoU is in the process of being finalised. Then the heart of the MoU comes out of the scope of work and we are still working on the scope," he said.

"Actually the MoU is not an agreement, after that we will agree the terms and conditions after which we will sign the Memorandum of Agreement which will outline the terms and length of the lease. We are still engaging and positive, if I may say."

Sakunda Holdings executive, Nqobile Magwizi, who is at the forefront of negotiations, said a benchmarking visit will be carried out to South African stadia next month.

"We have just had our first facility visit together with the City of Harare council. We have assessed everything including visiting the Number One Grounds seeing how the vendors are doing.

"We needed to do this first because we know for sure this is a community project then dwell into the feasibility studies which obviously will bring all the scope on what needs to be done, the sewage systems, electricity supply, drainage system, all those issues," said Magwizi.

"Then after all that, we enter the MoA but we will try and move very fast because we know this is a very critical asset for the community. We need to get this facility up and running in the fastest possible time. We are really excited by this development and we are looking forward to working with the City of Harare.

"We are finalising with the foreign architects who are going to be hosting us, South Africa, for a start, is good for benchmarking."

Source - The Herald
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