Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
THE Harare City Council have revised the time frames by which they intend to complete renovations at Gwanzura and Rufaro.
The municipality have extended the initial deadlines, by at least one month, after work was hampered by the nationwide lockdown in the past weeks.
Procurement of material, and sourcing of funds, became difficult as everything was at a standstill in the past weeks.
Full-scale renovations have, however, resumed at both venues with Gwanzura at almost 50 percent complete.
Rufaro’s planned refurbishment is almost 70 percent complete.
The local authority, though, won’t be able to beat the deadlines they had initially set for the completion of work at both facilities.
In a statement, Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said it was impossible for the artisans to beat the original deadlines after the coronavirus-induced delays.
Renovations at Rufaro were supposed to be completed by the end of this month while work at Gwanzura had initially been planned to be completed next month.
“The first phase of the lockdown meant we weren’t able to complete the renovations at both stadiums (Gwanzura and Rufaro) as originally planned,” said Chideme.
“The period (initial lockdown) generally slowed down work at the grounds and affected the council’s ability to finance the work due to a sharp fall in revenue as well as increase in COVID-19 related expenses.
“Since some industries, which provide us with essential material and services were closed, it meant we couldn’t proceed as per our original schedule.”
But, with the second level lockdown seeing the industries which provide essential services and material for the refurbishments being opened, the city council have deployed a full compliment of staff at both facilities.
Gwanzura hasn’t been used for Premiership football since 2015 and had deteriorated into an eyesore.
The sewer reticulation system, as well as drainage structures, have been completed while toilets and changing rooms have been demolished and new designs put in place.
The Council is in the process of procuring material for the construction of new structures.
A solar system, to power the installed borehole to ensure constant water supply for the watering of the pitch and general use, has also since been installed.
Designs for Press, doping and medical rooms have been completed and the construction will take place in the coming weeks after the procurement of material. The playing surface has been levelled, awaiting the laying of the turf which has already been secured by the Council.
Chideme said, it will take, at least, one more month to complete the renovations at Gwanzura, barring any disturbances.
“We can’t really tell since the goal is to make sure everything is of the right quality. We will not be chasing time frames since we could end up compromising quality but, maybe, between one to two months, we will be done with Gwanzura.
“Most of the work, including the grating of sitting bays, the perimeter wall, as well as the laying of the playing surface, is starting this week or next week.”
Chideme said the outside car park at Rufaro has already been worked on and the perimeter wall for that car park will also be erected in the next fortnight.
Solar systems, to power the borehole drilled at the stadium, have also been installed while the Council, according to Chideme, were at an advanced stage to drill another borehole.
Rufaro was condemned by the ZIFA First Instance Board in March and it would have been banned from hosting Premiership matches had the season not been put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak.