The curse of Sakubva Sta­dium

The Manica Post - - Sport - Ray Bande Se­nior Sports Re­porter

MUTARE City Rovers brought smiles on the faces of foot­ball fans in the east­ern bor­der city when they won pro­mo­tion into the do­mes­tic Premier­ship, but the eu­pho­ria might soon turn into de­spair when the pow­ers that be in top-flight league ad­min­is­tra­tion deem the venue un­fit to host league matches ow­ing to its derelict state.

Sakubva Sta­dium has been banned from host­ing Premier­ship foot­ball matches on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions be­fore, with teams such as the now de­funct East­ern Lions, High­way FC and Buf­faloes be­ing or­dered to find al­ter­na­tive venues for their league as­sign­ment.

Iron­i­cally, Mutare City Rovers are owned by Mutare City Coun­cil - the cus­to­di­ans of the 15 000-seater foot­ball match venue.

Hopes were high that the lo­cal au­thor­ity would move in with speed to ren­o­vate the sports field since their own team gained pro­mo­tion into the more com­pet­i­tive league.

That Mutare Town Clerk Joshua Maligwa, pledged to ren­o­vate all sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties around the city dur­ing a tour by the then Min­is­ter of Sports, Makhosini Hlong­wane early this year only served to raise ex­pec­ta­tions of a ma­jor facelift for Sakubva Sta­dium.

“Min­is­ter, I can as­sure you that it is not go­ing to busi­ness as usual as far as sport is con­cerned at Mutare City Coun­cil. We are go­ing to sit down and en­sure that we ren­o­vate most of these fa­cil­i­ties so that they can make a mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion to the de­vel­op­ment of sports in the city and the prov­ince at large,” said Maligwa dur­ing Hlong­wane’s tour of sports fa­cil­i­ties in Mutare.

With only three months left be­fore the start of the 2018, Sakubva Sta­dium still lies in a derelict state.

Parts of its pre­cast wall have been brought down, thereby giv­ing easy ac­cess to love­birds from the nearby high-den­sity suburb a spa­cious out­door pic­nic venue.

Its chang­ing rooms, both for the home and vis­it­ing teams, apart from be­ing too small for a com­fort­able match half-time rest, are still sub­stan­dard and not ideal for a sta­dium in the county’s fourth largest city.

The ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties at Sakubva Sta­dium are an eye­sore.

Turn­stiles have bro­ken iron bars that give a tor­rid time to both those en­ter­ing the sta­dium to watch matches as well as those man­ning the gates.

The light­ing sys­tem at Sakubva Sta­dium, if ever there is any, is poor.

A bumpy play­ing filed with a poor drainage sys­tem has be­come a nor­mal­ity, no won­der vis­it­ing teams find it ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to play a fine pass­ing game each time they play at Sakubva Sta­dium.

Apart from the iron sheets shed, there is re­ally noth­ing im­por­tant about the so-called Very Im­por­tant Per­sons (VIP) en­clo­sure at Sakubva Sta­dium.

The me­dia cor­ner at Sakubva Sta­dium, which gives no se­cu­rity and in­ter­net ac­cess to sports jour­nal­ists, is at best a joke and at worst a mock­ery for a se­ri­ous foot­ball-lov­ing city in the 21st cen­tury.

Mutare City Coun­cil spokesper­son Spren Mu­tiwi said: “We have a work­plan that is ex­pected to kick off mostly likely early Jan­uary to ren­o­vate Sakubva Sta­dium to meet the ex­pected stan­dards. We do not want the Man­i­ca­land com­mu­nity to be de­prived of top-flight league ac­tion and the coun­cil is aware of the ex­pec­ta­tions. Se­ri­ous work will soon be rolled out. Fo­cus is on es­tab­lish­ing a new pre­cast wall, up­grade the chang­ing rooms and en­sure that the pitch meets the set stan­dards.

“It is a project which re­quires fund­ing, but we are pre­pared to tackle the is­sue head-on be­fore the soc­cer sea­son kicks off. We are con­fi­dent that be­fore the Cas­tle Lager Premier Soc­cer League roars into life, a new-look Sakubva Sta­dium will be ready for use.”

Mutare City Rovers spokesper­son Clay­ton Masekesa said the club had as­sur­ance from the lo­cal au­thor­ity that the fa­cil­ity would be re­fur­bished in time for the 2018 Premier­ship sea­son.

“We are con­fi­dent that the sta­dium will be al­lowed to host Premier­ship matches. I might not be at lib­erty to com­ment on the ac­tual works that the lo­cal au­thor­ity will soon be un­der­tak­ing to ren­o­vate the sta­dium since these are coun­cil mat­ters but as a club we have as­sur­ance from the lo­cal au­thor­ity that the fa­cil­ity would be re­fur­bished in time for the 2018 Premier­ship sea­son,” said Masekesa.

Sakubva Sta­dium chang­ing rooms are an eye­sore

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