Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
DYNAMOS are keeping their fingers crossed the Harare City Council will ready Rufaro Stadium for use for the upcoming Castle Lager Premiership football season.
The Glamour Boys have ordinarily used the popular Mbare venue as their home ground and they thought they had struck a jackpot when they appeared to have secured the facility on a long-term lease through their principal sponsors, Sakunda Holdings.
However, the deal, which looked all but sealed sensationally collapsed in November last year amid accusations and counter-accusations between Sakunda Holdings and the Harare City Council.
The venue is in a dilapidated condition with attention needed in virtually all the facets if the facility is to meet the minimum required standards.
It last hosted Premiership football in 2019 with Harare-based Premiership teams crammed at the National Sports Stadium while some, including Black Rhinos and Cranborne Bullets, were forced to look for alternative venues outside the capital.
Dynamos and CAPS United, who, irrespective of results, ordinarily attract big crowds at Rufaro, failed to get significant numbers at the National Sports Stadium last season as fans cited general convenience challenges associated with the location of this facility.
And Dynamos, who almost always play before a capacity crowd at Rufaro, are feeling the pinch.
They are hoping to make a return to the Mbare venue this coming season.
But they don’t have any say on making the facility available for Premiership action.
Dynamos’ executive chairman, Moses Maunganidze, yesterday told The Herald that DeMbare are hoping for the best.
“Our prayer is that the authorities redevelop Rufaro Stadium so that we can get to play at the venue once again.
“It’s not a secret that as Dynamos, we take Rufaro Stadium as our ceremonial home where our fans have always thronged in good and bad times to cheer on the team,” said Maunganidze.
“We made some gigantic efforts through our principal sponsors, Sakunda Holdings, to have the venue redeveloped.
“However, there were some unfortunate developments which led to that pulling out by our sponsors.
“We are now pinning our hopes on the Harare City Council authorities who have promised that Rufaro Stadium will be ready for the 2023 season kick-off (in March).
“I think we are not the only club who are interested in hosting matches at Rufaro. So it is our hope that by the time the Premier Soccer League season kicks-off, the stadium will be available.
“We have scored successes at Rufaro Stadium as Dynamos and we hope to do the same going forward.
“But we should be cognisant of the fact that Rufaro’s availability doesn’t depend on us. It’s the City of Harare’s baby and we hope they will have fully refurbished the venue for season kick-off.”
The perimeter wall, parking lots, drainage system, ablution facilities, pitch condition, changing rooms and media areas are some of the areas which need urgent attention at Rufaro for the venue to be able to meet the minimum requirements.
Meanwhile, new Dynamos head coach, Herbert “Jompano” Maruwa, has said he is confident his team will do well in the coming season.
Maruwa was appointed the DeMbare head coach following the sacking of Tonderai Ndiraya who is now with new boys, Simba Bhora.
Ndiraya led Dynamos to third place last season, having had a turnover of about 40 players who came with an expenditure that hovered above US$140 000.
The former midfielder was virtually building from the base given the huge player turnover and a third-place finish was never bad, especially considering the champions FC Platinum had kept over 90 percent of their 2019 squad intact.
But at Dynamos, winning is all that matters and Maruwa, whose club is one of the most active players in the transfer market, could be under pressure going into the new season. Already DeMbare have signed eight new players and yesterday the Glamour Boys completed midfielder Donald Mudadi’s deal from Harare City.
“Football is a game of pressure. In fact, sport is a pressure game so there is nothing to be afraid of in this case,” said Maruwa.
“Look, I have been a football person for quite some time now. I was also part of Dynamos when we won four league titles in a row (under Callisto Pasuwa).
“So, I am not entirely new to this system. I know the demands and the expectations. If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have signed for the club.
“We will do our best to make Dynamos great again,” a confident Maruwa said.