Rufaro set for assessment Rufaro was re-opened for the first time since 2019 when CAPS United hosted Bikita Minerals last Thursday and hosted three other matches over the Easter weekend, including Yadah v Dynamos, CAPS United v Arenel Movers and Herentals v FC Platinum. 

Eddie Chikamhi

Senior Sports Reporter

AFTER five years of lying dormant, football stakeholders will know the fate of Rufaro Stadium following an inspection that is set to be conducted at the facility today.

Giants CAPS United and Dynamos have already started heaping pressure on the authorities by promoting their Easter games at the council-owned facility where Makepekepe are provisionally scheduled to host new boys Bikita Minerals tomorrow and Arenel Movers on Sunday.

The Green Machine has pegged the cheapest ticket at US$3 for the game.

City rivals Dynamos will be away to Yadah at the same venue, according to the provisional fixture released by the Premier Soccer League, and their media team has also been on overdrive in anticipation of the Glamour Boys’ Rufaro homecoming show.

But sources close to the PSL stadium inspection team yesterday said the ground, which last hosted topflight matches in 2019, has to pass certain aspects of the assessment to at least earn provisional homologation.

Rufaro has been under renovation for over a year.

Makepekepe supporters, who last week carried placards to Kariba for their home match against Herentals denouncing the stadium crisis in Harare, in a show of passion mixed with desperation have volunteered their labour to assist the workmen at Rufaro to speed up the renovations ahead of the inspection.

CAPS United Supporters National Executive Chairperson Masango Ruzani told the Zimpapers Sports yesterday that the re-opening of Rufaro was long overdue.

“The message we sent from Kariba was very clear; we have had enough of the travelling and the inconveniences that come with it on our budgets as well as on our families.

“The strain on the budget mainly is too much. Imagine that you would need something like US$30-US$40 every week to travel for a league game, this has been happening for a long period, and that is not fair at all.

“As supporters, we also need to do our programmes at home to promote our team but that is not possible in Gweru or any other venue because we are not in control.

“We also feel for our team because they will have to meet travelling and camping costs every week and they may end up failing to pay players, which does not create a level playing field for all teams. So, we cannot wait to have football back at Rufaro or National Sports Stadium,” said Ruzani.

He added:

“We decided to offer our labour at Rufaro because of the passion that we have to have our home games played in Harare. The supporters responded positively to the call and there was a lot of cleaning in the terraces, the changing rooms, and the toilets.”

Rufaro Stadium was shut down in 2019 after being condemned and declared unfit to host PSL matches.

CAPS United head of administration Morton Dodzo was optimistic with regards to the re-opening of Rufaro.

“We are happy the Premier Soccer League indicated on the fixture that we could be returning to Rufaro this week.

“So we are planning with that in mind for the next two games which we are going to play at home. Everyone is excited, the fans cannot wait to see their team returning to Rufaro,” said Dodzo.

Makepekepe also acknowledged the efforts by the various chapters of their supporters who mobilised labour to assist with the cleaning of debris at Rufaro earlier this week.

“On behalf of the CAPS United Board, Management, and Staff, we wish to convey our sincerest gratitude, to the National Supporters Association Executive, the Supporters Chapters Executive, and all the CAPS United supporters who initiated, collaborated, and participated during the clean-up and improvement of Rufaro Stadium,” said Makepekepe’s management in a statement.

“Your efforts and personal resources invested during the event complimented the City of Harare and the CAPS United family in ensuring that the facility is improved and ready for use during matches.

“We are so grateful as an institution, and we keep urging all supporters to keep up with the good initiatives and the good work. We remain hopeful that with all these efforts Rufaro will be certified.

“Once certified, we encourage all supporters to come in numbers and rally behind their beloved Makepekepe during our next matches provisionally at Rufaro Stadium.”

See fixtures on Page 11

 

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