HARARE – The National Sports Stadium in Zimbabwe is set to undergo significant renovations in the coming months.
The government has partnered with an undisclosed internationally acclaimed company, known for developing stadiums for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, to spearhead the renovation project.
The stadium currently does not meet the minimum requirements set by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to host international football matches.
Over the past four months, the National Sports Stadium has been hosting Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures due to the country’s international football participation embargo. This increased usage has resulted in damage to the infrastructure and playing pitch. The stadium’s condition and inflated prices due to corruption prevented it from being upgraded to international standards three years ago.
Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry spoke at the PSL Indaba, acknowledging the past challenges and the corruption that hindered previous renovation attempts. She mentioned that a feasibility study is currently being carried out by the undisclosed company, and the details of the partnership remain confidential.
The government and corporate sponsors aim to give the stadium a new look, and major progress is expected in the next three to six months.
The maintenance works at the National Sports Stadium have led to the suspension of league action in order to allocate sufficient time for the renovations. However, some teams that use the stadium have not secured alternative venues. The unavailability of Rufaro Stadium, which is also undergoing renovations, has further complicated the situation.
If the renovation works at the National Sports Stadium are completed, Premiership football in Harare could be temporarily moved to Rufaro Stadium. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the National Sports Stadium meets the requirements to host international football matches if Zimbabwe’s participation ban is lifted.