DeMbare ready to move to BF

Tadious Manyepo

Sports Reporter

IT’S too strange to be true.

But Castle Lager Premier Soccer League giants Dynamos are finalising their lease agreement with the Bulawayo City Council for them to play their home matches at Barbourfields.

With no stadium fit to host Premiership matches in the capital, given the National Sports Stadium is undergoing maintenance work, Harare teams have been asked to look for alternative home grounds.

Eight teams including DeMbare, CAPS United, Black Rhinos, Cranborne Bullets, Simba Bhora, Herentals, Yadah and ZPC Kariba shared the National Sports Stadium as their home ground.

The giant facility has accommodated at least four games every week for the past four months and inevitably the turf has been damaged due to overuse.

Water reticulation system at the venue also need attention.

And, stadium authorities have for the past three weeks been working to address those areas while the PSL suspended top-flight games to pave way for the refurbishments.

However, with work still going on at the venue, PSL have had to ask the eight affected clubs to look for other grounds where they would play as league action look to bounce back.

And the Glamour Boys have settled for the most unlikely option – Barbourfields – with Bata Stadium in Gweru their fallback plan.

Until last week, Dynamos have been reluctant to negotiate with stadium owners outside Harare as they pinned their hopes on the imminent availability of Rufaro Stadium, which is also under renovation.

The iconic Mbare ground has been lying idle for the past three years after it failed to meet required standards to host Premiership matches.

The stadium owners, the Harare City Council, through mayor Jacob Mafume have been vehemently saying the stadium will be ready for top-flight football by June 30.

But as things stand, the date could be too soon and the Glamour Boys have had to move with speed to secure an alternative home.

Dynamos executive chairman Moses Maunganidze said they were tying the loose ends with the Bulawayo City Council for the temporary use of Barbourfields.

They are also in negotiations for Bata Stadium in Gweru.

“As Dynamos, we will be playing our home games at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo with Bata Stadium in Gweru our second home until there is a homologated ground Harare.

“It’s an inconvenience we have to take for the sake of football,” said Maunganidze.

“We are a team that has always played our home games in Harare ever since our formation 60 years ago.

“The blow that comes with playing home games away from Harare is massive.

“But at times, we have to do certain things for the sake of our beloved game.

“After all, we have supporters around the country who always fill stadiums whenever we are playing.

“So despite the inconvenience of training in Harare and playing in Bulawayo, we know we have the most passionate supporters in the league who will be ready to back us during the brief period we will be staging home matches outside Harare.

“We are appealing to our supporters in Gweru and Bulawayo to always rally behind the team as we will be at home”.

While DeMbare will be travelling all the way to play their home games at the very home ground of their bitterest rivals Highlanders, seven other teams who have been using the National Sports Stadium will also be exiting the capital.

Black Rhinos have already secured Bata Stadium while Simba Bhora have agreed terms with Ngezi Platinum to host their guests at Baobab.

CAPS United are believed to be angling for Barbourfields as well while Cranborne Bullets, ZPC Kariba, Herentals and Yadah could settle for Baobab, Bata, Mandava or Luveve.

The PSL have since told the media they wouldn’t compromise on standards just to accommodate Harare teams.

The stadium crisis is expected to ease a bit after completion of renovations at Nyamhunga, Sakubva, Wadzanai, Rufaro and GreenFuel Arena.

There has been significant progress at the four venues.

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