Chunga speaks on Sakubva ban
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.