PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has praised Prophet Walter Magaya and his PHD Ministries for their work in developing the Heart Stadium, the most modern stadium in Zimbabwe.
The first phase of the facility, which the President officially opened yesterday, provides seating for 5 000 people with bucket seats all round, and was built over two months.
Speaking during a tour of the facility, President Mnangagwa paid tribute to Prophet Magaya for taking heed of the Government’s call to help in the development and modernisation of the country.
Defence Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Sports Minister, Kirsty Coventry, and Tourism Minister, Barbra Rwodzi, graced the occasion.
“I want to extend my hearty congratulations to the founder of Healing Deliverance Ministries, Prophet Walter Magaya, together with the congregants of the church for completing this impressive facility.
“This project demonstrates to us that the church, PHD Ministries, is walking in the understanding of our national development philosophy that ‘Nyika inovakwa, inotongwa, inonamatigwa nevene vayo.
“As a people, we must believe in ourselves and transition from the straitjacket models of development by adopting local and relevant strategies to modernise, industrialise and grow our economy,” said President Mnangagwa.
He implored the corporate world to take up such opportunities to help in the modernisation of sporting facilities across the country.
“I further challenge more citizens, sportspersons and private sector players to take up opportunities in the sector towards developing modern sporting facilities.
“It is praiseworthy that this stadium was constructed in keeping with the international best practices, including guidelines of the Confederation of African Football and Federation of International Football.
“It is my expectation that this Heart Stadium will attract high-level sporting events,” he said.
Prophet Magaya said he is also targeting to duplicate a similar amusement facility at Chikubu Stadium in Chitungwiza.
The Sports and Recreation Commission, local football legends, coaches and players were among the invited guests.
However, the ZIFA Normalisation Committee, which was entrusted with running the affairs of local football, was surprisingly not represented despite its important role in the game.
Chairman Lincoln Mutasa and his entire executive were missing from the gathering despite invitations having been sent to them.
Last month the ZIFA NC had to host Nigeria in a crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Rwanda as the country currently does not have a match venue that meets the minimum requirements set by CAF to host international matches.
According to Prophet Magaya, the Heart Stadium will be able to meet the CAF requirements around February-March next year and he will avail the venue for use on the international arena.
Premier Soccer League champions Ngezi Platinum Stars and Chibuku Super Cup winners, Dynamos will be representing Zimbabwe in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup from August next year and are currently sweating on venues.