…Gwanzura refurbishment to take longer
HARARE City Council is under pressure to reclaim international status for their main football venues –Rufaro and Gwanzura after being slapped by Confederation of African Football sanctions last year.
The local authority now has a plan, which is however, subject to adequate funding, to meet the minimum requirements laid out by CAF and Rufaro looks set to get first preference while Gwanzura might not even be usable for the 2020 season.
Last season CAF are reported to have warned ZIFA that they risk playing their home matches outside the country if major renovations are not conducted at local football facilities, which include Rufaro and Gwanzura.
Only Barbourfields in Bulawayo is certified to stage international matches in Zimbabwe.
Following a story in H-Metro yesterday highlighting the dilapidated state of Gwanzura, Harare’s Director of Housing and Social Development, Admore Nhekairo went to the venue and gave council’s Facebook audience an update on the facilities.
He indicated that they intend to install a playing turf at Gwanzura with the hope to have it usable by end of April while other works at the venue will go on until August.
“I can promise that during the course of 2020 season, Gwanzura will be open for use. We are in discussion with a number of partners, some who supply bricks for the perimeter wall, we believe that it is only through partnership that we can again ensure our infrastructure is to the standard of our Harare residents and these are avenues, which we continue to explore.
“What we are going to be doing for the next two weeks is improving the drainage of Gwanzura, our Harare water department has since completed the designs for the new drainage system which we will ensure that we avoid any water logging during the rainy season. So that enhancement was important before we put a new layer of turf at Gwanzura.
“The turf has already been procured and once the exercise of enhancing drainage has been completed, in the next three weeks I think we will start laying of the new turf. But by and large, the playing surface of Gwanzura will be complete by end of April.
“But that’s not only the work that has to be done, we are also going to be working on the ablution facilities, the two ablution facilities for spectators, the changing room, the doping area as well as the conference facility. It is our attention as council that by end of July or latest by end of August they will be complete. We will obviously start with the ablution facility for our spectators then we go to the issues like conference,” said Nhekairo.
Council will also pull down the current precast wall at Gwanzura while bucket seats will be installed, Nhekairo said.
“That is the ultimate goal that we are desirous of, you know we have started work of putting bucket system (seats) at Rufaro, our intention is to first complete the work at Rufaro Stadium before coming to Gwanzura. The perimeter wall for Gwanzura has run its course I believe, because these were pre-fabricated panels. Our intention is to put proper brick and mortar during the course of 2020 will be replacing the prefabricated wall by perimeter wall.“
Nhekairo defended the maize field inside the Gwanzura perimeter wall saying it was meant to fend for the stadium’s caretaker who lives there.
“We have a house within the stadium which is meant for our caretaker who ensures that everything at Gwanzura is in order. Surrounding his house is where some mealies have been planted for his family’s consumption. His maize doesn’t interfere with the use of Gwanzura as a stadium.”
“We have deployed some employees here who are weeding any grass that has grown during this rainy season at our terraces, the general sprucing up of the stadium.”
***H-Metro will carry an update on the refurbishments at Rufaro and Gwanzura every TWO weeks.