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Rufaro Stadium misses target again!

by Staff reporter
06 Jun 2023 at 06:15hrs | Views
RUFARO Stadium has missed yet another deadline as the Premier Soccer League continues to battle a serious fixture congestion in Harare where almost half of the league teams share one venue.

Despite the constant assurances by the mayor of Harare Jacob Mafume that the stadium would open its doors end of May, the Mbare venue remains closed with most of the renovations incomplete.

This is the third time that the stadium has failed to be completed at the set time and It is increasingly getting difficult to trust the Mayor's words. It's either he is an outright liar or is just an excitable individual.

The Premier Soccer League has this week been forced to resort to the same destructive template where the National Sports Stadium will host four games in five days.

The giant stadium will this Thursday welcome Herentals and Simba Bhora. Then on Saturday Black Rhinos will host giants Dynamos at the same venue before the big game pitting CAPS United and Highlanders on Sunday.

With little or no time for the turf to recover, ZPC Kariba, whose Nyamhunga Stadium is still to get homologation, will be back in Harare for their home game against Yadah the following day.

The giant stadium, which is now showing signs of stress from overuse, has been home to eight of the 18 PSL teams this year.

Rufaro is largely expected to bring relief to the National Sports Stadium, which has hosted an average four to five matches every week since the start of the season due to the current stadium crisis in the country.

But it appears the ground may not be available anytime soon after the renovations currently taking place at the venue have fallen behind the deadlines.

Initially, Mafume told journalists that the stadium would be ready by March just before the start of the season, before extending the target to the end of April in time for the Harare Derby. The dates were then shifting to end of May after it became obvious that the time-frames were unrealistic.

But Mafume reiterated that by end of May the refurbishment would be done and dusted when addressing stakeholders in his end of quarter report at the Town House last month.

"The refurbishment of Rufaro Stadium commenced at the beginning of the year with the project team working on the extension of changing rooms, mainte nance of the pitch, installation of the irrigation system, general maintenance, plumbing and electrical repairs, construction of perimeter walls, car park surfacing among other works.

"The project was under-targeted and can only be completed by end of May, 2023. The work done at Rufaro so far and the progress made through the partnership with City Parking Private Limited demonstrate that as a city we can do more to rehabilitate our social amenities if we get our priorities right," said Mafume.

For over three years, Rufaro, which happens to be the favourite and most convenient among the Harare fans and football clubs, has been lying idle.

The ground has been condemned several times by inspectors due to lack of maintenance but there has been renewed hope after the City of Harare took it upon themselves to restore it to its former glory. However, corruption in the Council has been the major stumbling block.

"It's like there is a looting committee that was created at some place and that looting committee is very difficult to cut through because it's agenda is to loot.

"So it is the behaviour of the people that has sort of delayed our finishing time-lines. But we have pushed day and night and I am happy to see the progress and I am dead sure that by the end of this month that we will be sitting in this stadium cheering our teams to our hearts' content," said Mafume during the tour last month.


Thursday: Herentals v Simba Bhora (NSS)

Saturday: Black Rhinos v Dynamos (NSS), Bulawayo Chiefs v GreenFuel (Luveve), Manica Diamonds v Sheasham (Gibbo), FC Platinum v Chicken Inn (Mandava), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Hwange (Baobab)

Sunday: CAPS Utd v Highlanders (NSS), Triangle v Cranborne Bullets (Gibbo)

Monday: ZPC Kariba v Yadah (NSS)

Source - The Herald