Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
HARARE City Council are preparing the ground for the resumption of renovation works at both Rufaro and Gwanzura stadiums.
Operations had to be stopped, over two months ago, after some members of the municipality tested positive for coronavirus. But work at the facilities is set to resume as the spread of the virus has slowed down.
Harare City spokesperson, Michael Chideme, confirmed their artisans will be returning to the venues soon.
“We had halted work at the two stadiums (Rufaro and Gwanzura) which we were upgrading.
“All along, we were moving with slow speed as we implemented all Covid-19 regulations, including social distancing.
“That meant progress was very slow.
“But, we are now finalising the arrangements to return to work. This time we will try to expedite the processes since the facilities could be needed anytime soon.”
Rufaro was flagged by the ZIFA First Instance Board early this year, after failing to meet the minimum requirements to host top-flight games.
Gwanzura has suffered from neglect over the past five years.
The condemnation of Rufaro, by the stadium experts, coupled by the media outcry over the sorry state of Gwanzura, prompted the Municipality to set aside a budget and appoint a team to work on giving both facilities a facelift.
Significant progress had been made at Gwanzura, with rusty sewer pipes replaced and drainage improved.
Council had set themselves a target of completing the facelift by April this year.
This included the upgrading of ablution facilities, improvement of the playing turf, sitting bays, construction of media centre, medical rooms and the perimeter wall.
But, with the sweeping coronavirus pandemic forcing authorities to effect lockdown restrictions, even progress that had been made, was affected.
Rufaro was condemned due to poor ablution facilities, a bad playing turf while the change rooms were also flagged.
The local authority have installed two boreholes which they are using to water the pitch.
Former football administrator, Beadle Musa Gwasira, and his partners, donated an assortment of building material for the construction of the proposed two-storey changing rooms at the facility.
But, when work was about to start, the City of Harare were forced to suspend the entire operations because of Covid-19.
The construction of the modern changing rooms is part of the renovation work engineers at Rufaro will be working on.
Chideme hinted they could increase manpower on the facilities as they want to speed up the process, especially now that the return of football looks increasingly imminent.
All football activities were suspended in March. However, the Government, through the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Ministry have given a hint of the game’s rebound.
They forwarded recommendations, for the safe return of the sport, which are being looked at by ZIFA and other stakeholders.