Chunga speaks on Sakubva ban

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Ray Bande Se­nior Re­porter

AS REN­O­VA­TIONS at Sakubva sta­dium in Mutare move at a snail’s pace and ex­pected to last at least three months from now, le­gendary Soccer Coaches Union of Zim­babwe (SCUZ) pres­i­dent Moses “Bambo” Chunga thinks Zifa did the right thing in ban­ning a num­ber of sta­dia from host­ing top flight league matches.

Apart from Sakubva Sta­dium that was de­nied the right to host Pre­mier­ship matches ow­ing to its derelict state, other fa­cil­i­ties that were con­demned by the Zifa’s First In­stance Body (FIB) are Sha­banie Mine’s home ground Ma­glas, Gweru air­men Cha­pungu’s home ground of As­cot and ZPC Kariba’s Nyamhunga.

The de­ci­sion to bar Sakubva from host­ing Pre­mier­ship matches has left top flight league re­turnees Mutare City Rovers opt­ing for Na­tional Sports Sta­dium as their home ground.

Gusha Bhora will be at home away from home when they face Cha­pungu at 1pm tomorrow at the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium in Match day Two of the sea­son.

But Mutare City Coun­cil con­cedes that the ren­o­va­tions have not moved with speed.

“We are aware that the ren­o­va­tions have not been mov­ing at a speed that we an­tic­i­pated all be­cause of scarcity of re­sources. We are se­ri­ous about meet­ing the re­quired stan­dards and we are work­ing flat out to en­sure that we do that in time. It is un­for­tu­nate that at this mo­ment I can­not give you the ac­tual time frame that we hope to have fin­ished since that would re­quire fur­ther con­sul­ta­tions with re­spon­si­ble of­fices,” said Spren Mu­tiwi, the Mutare City Coun­cil spokesper­son.

Chunga is of the view that clubs need to do the nec­es­sary prepa­ra­tions upon pro­mo­tion into the Pre­mier­ship in­clud­ing ren­o­va­tions of their home grounds to meet ac­cept­able stan­dards.

In a wide rang­ing in­ter­view this week, the cel­e­brated gaffer told Post Sport that lo­cal author­i­ties have ne­glected sta­dia coun­try­wide while con­cen­trat­ing on their perks.

“Get­ting into the Pre­mier­ship is like qual­i­fy­ing for the Olympics for an ath­lete. When an ath­lete takes part at the Olympics it means they have met the re­quired time in a par­tic­u­lar race. In the same mea­sure, when a team gets pro­moted into the Pre­mier­ship it means the club meets the re­quired stan­dards.

“The thing is lo­cal author­i­ties must take the re­spon­si­bil­ity to ren­o­vate these sta­dia. For a long time, in al­most ev­ery city in the coun­try, coun­cils ne­glected so­cial ameni­ties like sta­dia and I think Zifa did the right thing in now al­low­ing some the fa­cil­i­ties to host Pre­mier­ship matches.

“Coun­cil of­fi­cials have been con­cen­trat­ing on de­mand­ing hefty perks while ne­glect­ing our sta­dia hence they should be ex­posed through the ban­ning of their sta­dia from host­ing top flight league matches. It is a step in the right direc- tion,” he said.

Chunga added that the coun­try’s foot­ball mother body must never go back on that de­ci­sion un­til all match venue fa­cil­i­ties are spruced up.

“This is some­thing that Zifa must never back­track on. Peo­ple must un­der­stand that we need bet­ter sta­di­ums and it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of these lo­cal author­i­ties to en­sure that the sta­dia are in good state,” he said.

This time around, the cel­e­brated for­mer War­riors and Dy­namos cap­tain, who is known for be­ing a fierce critic of Zifa in the past, has be­come a strange bed fel­low with Zifa af­ter throw­ing his weight be­hind the FA ban to host top flight league matches in un­fit match venues.

He added that peo­ple must never op­pose ban­ning of sta­dia us­ing the ar­gu­ment that they see worse off sta­dia in other African coun­tries.

“I have of­ten heard peo­ple queer­ing the ban our sta­dia yet there are worse fa­cil­i­ties in other African coun­tries. That is ir­rel­e­vant. We can­not be seen to be pro­mot­ing medi­ocrity sim­ply be­cause it is be­ing done else­where,” he added.

Chunga said coun­cils take 20 per­cent of gross gate tak­ings and yet they do noth­ing about ren­o­vat­ing sta­dia.

“It is sad that these coun­cils will never for­get to get their 20 per­cent of gross gate tak­ings yet they do noth­ing to ren­o­vate the sta­dia. It is high time these sta­dia should be leased to clubs. If farm­ers are get­ting 99 year lease agree­ments, who not clubs?

“Look at what hap­pened in South Africa, clubs have been given those sta­dia that were used in the 2010 World Cup on lease agree­ments. Why not do the same here and make sure the clubs get full ben­e­fit of the sport en­ter­tain­ment that they pro­vide to the pub­lic,” said Chunga.

In a re­lated mat­ter, the Premier Soccer League has set it­self on a col­li­sion course with FIB for their “bold” move to use con­demned Gweru’s As­cot Sta­dium for their pro­grammes.

The league on Tues­day re­leased their Match Day Two Cas­tle Lager Premier Soccer League pro­gramme, in­di­cat­ing that newly pro­moted Shu­rugwi-based side Nichrut will play their home game against Chicken Inn at As­cot.

The clash is set for Satur­day (tomorrow).

As­cot, home to Air­force of Zim­babwe spon­sored Cha­pungu and Nichrut, is one of the four sta­dia that were ear­marked for use by clubs for the sea­son which were con­demned by the FIB a fort­night ago.

The de­ci­sion by the league to al­low for As­cot to be used for Pre­mier­ship games could have been mo­ti­vated by the FIB’s shock­ing de­ci­sion to clear Nyamhunga last Satur­day morn­ing, hours be­fore the ZPC Kariba and FC Plat­inum’s open­ing fix­ture.

Fol­low­ing con­dem­na­tion of Nyamhunga, ZPC Kariba reg­is­tered Na­tional Sports Sta­dium as their al­ter­na­tive venue. How­ever, on the open­ing day, ZPC Kariba de­cided against ful­fill­ing their fix­ture in Harare where FC Plat­inum waited for them.

Moses Chunga

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