EDITORIAL COMMENT: Rufaro chaos simply unacceptable

JUST as we were celebrating the return of the PSL to the capital, we were confronted by the brutal reality that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done at our stadiums.

After five years, the spiritual home of football in the country, Rufaro, opened its gates to the public for a PSL game on Thursday when CAPS United hosted Bikita Minerals.

True football fans in Harare were happy to finally see PSL action returning to the stadium they all call their home because it holds a lot of memories for them and its central location in Mbare means it’s easy to go there than to go to the National Sports Stadium.

It just felt good to be in the old stadium, which is still undergoing refurbishment and, to highlight the importance of the occasion, Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume was there to watch the match.

Mafume has been playing a leading role in the refurbishment of Rufaro because he also wants to see football, which is the most popular sport in the city which he leads, being played in the capital.

For goodness sake, how can Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Zvishavane, Kariba, Triangle, Chisumbanje and Hwange have stadiums good enough to pass the test to host PSL matches while the biggest city in the country doesn’t have such a stadium?

Bulawayo even have two — Barbourfields and Luveve — while Harare did not have even one.

Luveve is just like Gwanzura in Harare but while the former is a functional stadium, good enough to host PSL games, the latter has virtually been abandoned and, right now, cannot even host a boozers’ tournament.

Last week, PSL action returned to Harare and while we were happy to see that becoming a reality, the chaos that we saw at the entrance points in the league match between Yadah and Dynamos on Good Friday was a reminder of the work that still needs to be done.

 Thousands of fans, who turned up to watch the match, were trapped outside the stadium for hours because of the inefficiency of the old and tired system which the PSL still uses for gate management.

An estimated 5000 fans ended up being forced to return home and many have vowed they will never return to watch a PSL game in the near future.

Some analysts say the chaos is deliberate because it creates a window for cartels, who make money from stealing at the gates, to strike and get a little fortune.

Others are saying that the PSL leaders have been left behind by time as they are still clinging to old ways of gate management systems in an era where people are supposed to buy their tickets long before they arrive at the gates.

The guys who run musical shows have found a way to sell tickets in advance and, in today’s world, the PSL shouldn’t be clinging to physical tickets when the arrival of smart phones means even virtual tickets can be sold.

We should find a way to resolve this mess.

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