Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Walter Magaya has been hailed for embarking on an audacious project to construct a stadium at his Yadah Complex in Waterfalls, Harare.
Construction of the Swansea Stadium look alike has already started with the first phase of the project set to be commissioned early next month.
The facility, named The Heart Stadium, is being completed in phases, first as a 5 000-seater before it becomes a 40 000-seater when fully complete.
This development has come at a time when there is a crisis of football stadia in the country, which has no single stadium fit to host international games.
It will also come as a huge relief to Harare-based Premier league teams including giants Dynamos and Caps United who are shuttling to Gweru and Bulawayo for their home matches as the only stadiums in the capital, the National Sports Stadium and Rufaro Stadium, are both closed for renovations.
Zimbabwe national soccer supporters association secretary general Chris “Romario” Musekiwa saluted Magaya and urged other football stakeholders to give him all the necessary support.
“Well done Prophet Walter Magaya of PHD, a passionate football fan who has invested a lot in the growth of the Yadah football brand,” Musekiwa said.
“This is one of the best news we have heard in the Sports fraternity this year. This is very commendable and I wish the other stakeholders and all the relevant authorities can support him so that this dream, this huge project, is realised. This guy has done so much to support sport in the country... from owning a Premier league team (Yadah Fc) to also support national teams financially,” Musekiwa who is also a staunch Dynamos supporter and Warriors cheerleader told NewsDay Sport yesterday.
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“More importantly, he is also focusing on junior development through his Yadah Football Academy, something which has been lacking in this country. These are kind of investors that needs everyone's support and as supporters we are very happy and thankful. We call upon the corporate world and government to support such projects being done by enterprising individuals who have the game of football at heart.”
Caps United's number one fan Tatenda “ZiSuper reGreen” Mushonga also had kind words for Magaya.
“We would like to applaud him for that. We hope the stadium won't come with stringent conditions to use it. If he is doing it just for the love of the game, of which I know he loves very much, then big up to him. What he is doing will help develop sport in a big way in this country, and for that we have to appreciate,” Mushonga said.
Warriors team general manager Wellington Mpandare who is closely following the progress of the Heart stadium construction, was equally pleased.
“This is a massive development for our sport in the country. It's also good for our national teams. Remember our national teams sometimes camp at the Yadah hotel so in terms of logistics it would be easy because the teams will be staying and training at the complex. He also has an Academy that is housed at the same complex, so its just a matter of time before these facilities begin to churn out stars that will be attractive to the international market. The benefits are just huge,” Mpandare said.
Construction work started last month and is moving at a rapid pace as the contractor targets to hand over the completed project in a few weeks' time.
The lawn has been laid over a modern drainage system while the final touches are being done to the dressing and administration rooms, as well as the doping control rooms.
One grand stand has already been erected on one side of the stadium.
According to the stadium building plan, four grandstands will be erected, with two of them reserved for VIP's and media areas.
Magaya said construction of the stadium was part of his grand plan to develop sport in the country.
“The lawn is ready and in very good condition. We are working 24 hours on the site and the plan is to play some league games in the stadium before the end of the season,” said Magaya who owns premiership side Yadah. The team currently use Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro for its home matches.
“We have followed all the procedures of submitting the papers to the City Council and all the relevant authorities who have received them very well. We will also invite the Zifa FIB (First Instance Board) to inspect the stadium, and any other stakeholders to participate in our endeavour to make sure we build a world class facility. That is our aim,” Magaya said.
“We will allow other clubs to use the facility. We are putting dressing rooms that meet the Premier Soccer League and Caf requirements,” he added.
Harare City council has already pledged to offer their help by constructing access roads to the new stadium.
Magaya could not divulge the exact value of the stadium, but said millions of dollars have been sunk into the project.
“In terms of the pitch size and the look, we want to replicate the Swansea Stadium. But we also hope to do something that is unique. I gave it the name “Heart Stadium” because I want a person to follow their passion than to follow what is being implemented in their lives by someone else. Let a person follow their heart rather than to be forced to study, for example, a grasshopper, something that will not change their lives later on in life.”