Deputy Editor Charles Mushinga
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa’s call for life to be breathed into the sports and arts sectors has been answered by Prophet Uebert Angel who has begun refurbishing Gwanzura Stadium.
The refurbishment will be done through the OPEAAL Mnangagwa Fund, which Prophet Angel has launched.
Ambassador Prophet Angel, who was appointed the Office of the Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at Large (OPE-AAL), is financing the project after Harare City Council failed to revamp the stadium which has huge sentimental value in local football.
It used to host many top-flight football matches in the country and was the stadium of choice before the construction of Rufaro and the National Sports Stadium.
Gwanzura has failed to meet the local top-flight league requirements, let alone the standards set by CAF, to host matches with its toilets, bathrooms and changing rooms in a very bad state.
Even social football teams have long stopped using Gwanzura.
Work has already started in the refurbishment of the stadium with heavy duty equipment working on the pitch, which was now in a terrible state.
The pitch is being removed and will be replaced by a new turf.
Three years ago, H-Metro exposed the poor state of the stadium after breaking a story about parts of the stadium being turned into a maize field. After promises for it to be refurbished, nothing had been done to date.
The office of Ambassador Angel has come to the rescue. Ambassador Angel has set aside funds to bring the iconic stadium back to life in line with the country’s Vision 2030.
Gwanzura Stadium is owned by the Harare City Council.
“The OPEAAL Mnangagwa Fund is not taxpayers’ money, it is a fund Ambassador Uebert Angel personally set aside to address development projects in the country.
“After several meetings with Sports Minister, Kirsty Coventry, Ambassador Angel strongly believes the sports and arts sector needs support from everyone in Zimbabwe, and abroad, which is why he has decided to create this fund and begin the work at Gwanzura Stadium,” said an OPEAAL Mnangagwa Fund official.
Prophet Angel, through the fund, has also been raising school fees for thousands of pupils across the country.
The official added that they would want to leave the stadium in a state where it can be good enough even to host international matches, which are organised by CAF and FIFA.