THE refurbishment of Rufaro is expected to move into another gear following the decision by Harare City Council to reinstate Rufaro Marketing as a source of funding.
Rufaro Marketing, which operates a chain of beer halls across the capital, was originally the main source of funding for the venue.
However, most of the beer halls run by Rufaro Marketing had become white elephants following years of neglect and some were even leased to individuals for private business.
The net effect has been reduced revenue for the municipality and the non-maintenance of key infrastructure, including Rufaro.
Resultantly, the stadium gradually deteriorated into an eyesore and was banned from hosting even local Premiership matches.
But there is newly-found hope that once fully refurbished, the stadium will be kept in its developed state as the Rufaro Marketing project has been resuscitated.
Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume confirmed that Rufaro Marketing will be heavily involved in the maintenance of the stadium together with giants Dynamos and CAPS United, who are expected to be given long-term leases for the ground.
“We have electronic turnstiles which were manufactured by our sister company Rufaro Marketing.
“This stadium was named Rufaro after this company.
“It was built in the main by proceeds from beer sales.
“Back then Rufaro Private Limited used to be the biggest beer company in Zimbabwe.
“It had beerhalls across all suburbs.”
“We are in the process of re-taking and re-constituting Rufaro Private Limited.
“This subsidiary is involved in the refurbishment and subsequent maintenance of the Rufaro Stadium.
“We are now back in control of all the 196 bars.
“We have retrieved all those bars and tenants are already paying, with part of the refurbishment at Rufaro being funded by this company”.
Mafume said Council will incorporate a shopping mall just behind the VIP parking.
“The car park, which has already been done, will also incorporate a shopping mall as we have decided to turn the stadium into a multi-plex just like all the stadiums in the world.”
The stadium is scheduled to re-open its gates in February when it hosts a Harare Derby showdown between Dynamos and CAPS United when the two giants battle it out in the Mayor’s Cheer Fund Cup.
“We will only be able to do the floodlights in the second phase of the renovations, which will be at the end of the 2024 Premiership season.
“Then we will start having evening matches.”