The Zifa Training Centre (Zifa Village) in Mt Hampden will become the second football venue in the country after Rufaro Stadium to have a multipurpose artificial turf through the Fifa Goal Project III, Fifa development officer for Southern/Eastern Africa, Ashford Mamelodi said yesterday.
The Fifa Goal Project III which was launched yesterday, will see Fifa fund laying of a synthetic turf pitch at the institution as well as the construction of a state-of-art conference centre which will also house a gymnasium and a clinic.
While the laying of the turf was yet to begin, the construction of the conference centre was already underway and the constructors were expected to have completed the third phase of the project by August.
“I’m here to confirm that the very ground we are standing on has been approved for an artificial turf by Fifa. So take pictures around this place because for those who don’t frequent this place this could be the last time you are seeing it in this state.
“When Goal Project III was approved, Zimbabwe was one of the six countries worldwide who had their projects approved in what we call a special project, meaning a football turf at Mt Hampden.”
Mamelodi, speaking during the ground breaking ceremony at Mt Hampden yesterday, said Fifa consultants had already surveyed the area and a tender would be awarded to Fifa-approved agents to lay the artificial turf.
“We had a consultant vising here two weeks ago to survey the area. He gave us a report in terms of what needs to be done and after that we will open the tender process.
“Fifa has a number of companies who are approved to do football turfs. Not everyone can lay pitches, it has to be Fifa approved and one of them will be given the go ahead to lay the turf which will be something exactly like we have at Rufaro,” Mamelodi.
The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by the Zifa president Cuthbert Dube, Zifa board members, as well as representatives from the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the Premier Soccer League.
Zifa has completed the first two phases of the village which include accommodation facilities which have already been completed.
The Zifa Village, which is situated on the outskirts of the capital, was bought by Zifa in April 2000 after Fifa had granted permission for the project, meant to improve the game in developing countries.
Zifa president, Dube saluted Fifa for their continued support.
“With the terrain of this place it would be ideal to have an artificial turf here and we salute Fifa for their approval and this can only take our football to a higher level.
“When this project is complete, our teams, instead of going to Pandari, they will camp here,” said Dube.