DeMbare hail Rufaro refurbishment
Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
DYNAMOS are excited by the renovations at their traditional home, Rufaro, and believe this could help them in their campaign for honours.
The Glamour Boys have been complaining about the poor conditions at Rufaro, one of the local stadiums being given a facelift by authorities.
The Mbare stadium is expected to be ready for use when the domestic football season starts this month.
“The surface at both Rufaro and the National Sports Stadium was not even and this made it difficult for teams to play flowing football,’’ Dynamos team manager, Richard Chihoro, said.
“You cannot expect to play passing football on a bumpy pitch.
“We have also experienced a lot of injuries to our players because of the uneven playing surfaces.
“Players were always in danger of getting ankle and knee injuries if they failed to land properly.
“This is something that should have been done a long way back. But the good thing is renovations are taking place now.’’
The DeMbare team manager said their dance with continental football has opened their eyes to a new world where nations have taken infrastructure development seriously.
“I don’t really know what the problem was but in Zimbabwe we have the facilities. What was lacking was the maintenance part,’’ he said.
“We also haven’t upgraded our stadiums in a long time and, naturally, we would fall behind in terms of the expected standards.
“So, we have a lot of work to do, this is just the starting point.
“We are happy, although it was long overdue. Out there, where football is taken seriously, things are changing.
“We have been to many countries in Africa and infrastructure is one area that many nations are giving a lot of attention to.
“For example, in Egypt, Tunisia or neighbouring South Africa and Zambia, their stadiums are first-class. We have to be at par with them if we hope to compete with them.’’
Although it had to take extreme measures from CAF, who recently condemned all of Zimbabwe’s football stadiums, the swift reaction by Government and Local authorities has been applauded by the sports fraternity.
While the Harare City Council are busy sprucing up Rufaro and Gwanzura, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works have adopted a round-the-clock commitment in their renovations of the National Sports Stadium.
Upgrades are also taking place at Barbourfields in Bulawayo and Sakubva Stadium in Mutare after Government chipped in with financial resources towards the programme.
“As Zimbabweans, you are no doubt aware, the upgrading of the Barbourfields and National Sports Stadiums has started,’’ said Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry.
“You are right, we should never have waited this long to do it but it is now being done.
“There are multiple stakeholders involved in our sports facilities and my Ministry is working with the Ministry of Local Government and the municipalities to ensure that our stadiums meet the CAF criteria.
“We all know sport is an important part of our economy and I am delighted to see the seriousness with which this situation has been taken.
“I am also pleasantly surprised at the urgency with which work is being undertaken by all stakeholders. There will always be repairs and maintenance required and this will be better managed going forward.’’
She said local athletes will benefit in the short and long term.
“The CAF decision has given us a real opportunity to improve conditions for our athletes.
“Our athletes must be at the forefront of our decisions in sport and as an ex-athlete, I want to ensure our current and future athletes have greater opportunities to succeed so they can continue to raise our flag.
“I know how important it is for athletes to have quality training and competition facilities.
“If we can provide this to you, our athletes, you will flourish. Thank you for your continued passion for sport and our country,” said Coventry.