Editorial comment: Rufaro is far from ready

RUFARO Stadium holds a special place in the history of this country.

After all, this is the very stadium where our flag, as an independent nation, was raised for the first time on April 18, 1980.

In doing so, it became our spiritual arena which will always be associated with the birth of Zimbabwe.

It was also at this stadium where legendary musician Bob Marley sang for us as we celebrated the arrival of Independence in our beloved Zimbabwe.

It is also called the spiritual home of local football, our national sport and, for years, it was the home of our Warriors.

This is where they won their first trophy, in the trenches of international football, when they defeated Kenya 2-0 to be crowned champions of Eastern and Southern Africa in 1984.

The late football stars, Shacky Tauro and Gift M’pariwa scored for us in that victory over the Harambee Stars of Kenya before a full house.

However, after years of neglect, Rufaro Stadium was left to lose its glamour and even football, which had thrived on its lush green fields, decided to abandon this iconic venue.

The game’s leaders were forced to face the reality that, for all our fascination with Rufaro, the stadium had lost the right to host domestic top-flight league matches.

The rundown facilities meant that even our local football stars were being put at risk every time they were sent to play on a surface, which had deteriorated, and use change rooms, whose toilets were a threat to their health.

The same is also true about the match officials.

Rufaro had to be shut and it was an indictment of those who had been tasked with ensuring that it retains its glamour.

The City of Harare were at fault and their shortcomings had not only affected Rufaro but also affected Gwanzura Stadium and Dzivaresekwa Stadium, which used to host local Premiership matches.

To their credit, the City of Harare have been renovating Rufaro Stadium to try and ensure that, at least, it can be brought to standards to host local Premier League matches.

The city fathers have been working on the playing surface itself, renovating the toilets and also attending to the car park.

The evidence that some work is being done, and there is a drive to improve the facilities at the stadium, is there for everyone to see.

However, what is also clear is that Rufaro Stadium, right now, is not in a position to be reopened and start hosting a number of activities, including PSL matches.

We don’t know why the city fathers appeared desperate to celebrate the reopening of Rufaro this week.

The ceremony was intended for Wednesday but was then moved to yesterday but, as we expected, the stadium was not reopened.


Because it isn’t in a state where it can be reopened simply because the work, which is being conducted at Rufaro, is far from over.

The city fathers just need to keep working and, when the right time comes, Rufaro can then be reopened.

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