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Harare City Council receives brickbats over collapsed Rufaro deal

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FOOTBALL stakeholders have come out fuming following the sensational collapse of the Sakunda Holdings and Harare City Council partnership which was supposed to see off the transformation of Rufaro into a modern stadium by the former.

The two entered into a MoU with the energy giants pledging to spruce up the Mbare football facility.

Sakunda Holdings even funded a high-powered delegation trip including the Harare municipality policymakers to South Africa where they toured stadiums in that country with a view to taking some development points to Rufaro.

However, the deal has suffered a stillbirth after Sakunda Holdings announced on Tuesday they were pulling out over some “toxicity” surrounding the arrangement.

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume yesterday made some counter-accusations, ranting at the latest development which has since been described as disappointing.

Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association (ZNSSA) chairman Chama Mushamaenza blasted the City Council.

“This is never about the growth of football in Zimbabwe. It seems the Harare City Council doesn’t know exactly what development is about.

“This is so disappointing, to say the least. Rufaro is the ceremonial home of football. Its facelift brings joy to Zimbabweans and I am sure you know how fans used to throng the stadium before the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mushamaenza.

“Fans have not been going to the stadiums this past season due to the inconvenience associated with traveling to and from the National Sports Stadium. They feel it is better to go to Rufaro Stadium. And the coming in of Sakunda Holdings was a welcome development given the value they wanted to add to the stadium. Right now, the stadium is banned from both local and international games. It’s so sad. Then at a time, someone has decided to come on board to save the situation, and the municipality says no, that’s very unfortunate and a huge negative to football.”

Zivanai Muwashu, Secretary General of the Friends of Warriors echoed the same sentiments.

“These guys from the City Council do not have football or sport in general at heart. I am of the opinion that they were supposed to soften their hard-line stance to allow for the renovation of Rufaro Stadium,” Muwashu said.

“You will find out that people generally see it more convenient to watch football at Rufaro than at the National Sports Stadium.

“I feel Sakunda Holdings should have been given a chance to spruce up the facility for the benefit of the game.”