Editorial Comment: Councils must invest in stadia upgrading

Editorial Comment

THE 2019 Premier Soccer League (PSL) kicked off at the weekend with a total of five matches played in Harare.

Harare City hosted defending champions FC Platinum in the season opener at Rufaro while Black Rhinos welcomed Bulawayo giants Highlanders at the giant National Sports Stadium.

Premiership newboys Mushowani Stars hosted Harare giants Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium on Saturday while Caps United entertained debutants Manica Diamonds at the National Sports Stadium.

Herentals hosted another premiership newcomer — Tel One, at Rufaro on Sunday.

The reason for congesting these teams at two stadia — Rufaro and the National Sports Stadium is baffling, considering that councils who own the stadia collect revenue regularly from matches played across the country.

Councils collect 15% of total revenue from gate-takings, yet they hardly reinvest to upgrade the facilities.

It’s quite embarrassing that Rufaro — one of the biggest stadia in the country — fails to meet international standards when Harare City Council is operational and should be responsible for upgrading the facility. More worryingly, even the physical outlook of the stadium just doesn’t inspire.

The stadium has suffered from years of neglect in spite of the fact that Harare City Council is always getting revenue from matches across the city.

The fact that Mushowani Stars — a newly-promoted outfit from Bindura — use Rufaro as their home ground is indicative that there is something wrong with the way the Bindura council is run.

Councils need to reinvest to upgrade facilities under their purview.

Apart from Rufaro and the National Sports Stadium, there is also Gwanzura which has become a white elephant, yet the city council should be generating more revenue from its use. Sakubva Stadium in Mutare is another ground of concern. It has also been condemned after failing to meet international standards. Sakubva Stadium is also losing potential revenue as it is currently not being used. Manica Diamonds, another new premiership outfit who use it as their home ground, have now been forced to switch to Gibbo Stadium in the Lowveld, some 300km away. Other condemned stadia are Trojan (Bindura) and Vhengere (Rusape)

Airforce side Chapungu, who use Ascot Stadium in Gweru as their home ground, have also been forced to switch to Mandava in Zvishavane after it was also condemned for failure to meet international standards.

The problem confronting these teams is located in these councils which neglect, fail and or refuse to reinvest in stadia upgrading.

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