EDITORIAL : Zifa’s no-show is a shameful act

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa officially opened the new baby on our stadiums portfolio on Sunday.

He hailed Prophet Walter Magaya for the construction of the compact stadium at Yadah Complex in Waterfalls.

Magaya revealed that this was just Phase One of the massive project which, when completed, should be able to have a capacity of 25 000 fans.

Until the construction of The Heart Stadium, the story of our stadiums has been a negative one.

The headlines have emanated from the sorry state of Gwanzura, Chibuku, Dzivaresekwa and Lafarge Stadium in Mabvuku.

All these facilities used to be good enough to host domestic Premiership matches in the past.

However, after years of neglect, they are all in a state of disrepair and cannot host these top-flight league games.

The story of Gwanzura, in particular, is a painful one.

Before Rufaro was constructed, Gwanzura was the top stadium in Harare and the home of football in the capital.

However, today, it’s barely recognisable as that leading facility and has become a shadow of itself.

There have been promises, which were never fulfilled, by the Harare City Council to give Gwanzura a facelift.

Even the National Sports Stadium, which is the main stadium in the country, is now deemed by CAF to be not good enough to host international matches.

That is why the Warriors were forced to play their 2026 World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in Rwanda.

Against such a bleak background, it is refreshing to note that Magaya decided to invest in a state-of-the-art stadium which, when completed, could also be used to host Warriors’ matches.

It’s therefore depressing to hear that the ZIFA leaders, in the now called Abnormal Committee, decided to boycott the opening of a facility which could become a big part of the narrative of domestic football.

Why Lincoln Mutasa, the head of the association, decided not to show up at the event, which attracted thousands of people, including some leading figures in our game, is quite confusing.

Norman Mapeza, the former national team coach, made the long trip from Zvishavane to be part of the crowd because he understands the importance of having the right facilities in our football.

Many others also made similar lengthy trips to be part of the occasion.

Ironically, Mutasa was in Rwanda for our World Cup match against Nigeria and it appears he didn’t feel the shame that came with hosting the Super Eagles on neutral soil.

One would have expected him to play a leading part in embracing then arrival of a new stadium because these are the facilities that the game, which he is temporarily in charge, badly needs.

But, then, this is the same Mutasa who did not feature at the Soccer Stars of the Year banquet on the night that the game, which he leads, was honouring its best players, coaches and match officials.

If that is not the function for a ZIFA boss, then which is the other function which he is supposed to attend?

It’s a shame and Mutasa knows it.

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