National Sports Stadium Renovations Face Setbacks, No Clear Timeline Provided

Vice President Kembo Mohadi touring the National Sports Stadium
Spread the love

HARARE – The optimism of having the National Sports Stadium ready for international football matches in June, as previously promised, has been quashed as significant work remains to meet required standards, according to recent developments.

A committee has been established to expedite the ongoing renovations at the iconic sports facility, a process initiated last year, revealed during a comprehensive tour of the stadium on Tuesday by Vice President Kembo Mohadi.

However, despite the tour and discussions, the government has refrained from providing a clear timeline for the completion of the renovations this time around.

Acting Minister of Sport Jenfan Muswere, who accompanied Vice President Mohadi during the tour, acknowledged the existence of timelines and the urgency to accelerate the renovation process. He disclosed the formation of a committee tasked with assessing the situation and proposing ways to expedite the renovations.

The current stadium crisis in Zimbabwe, marked by the absence of a Confederation of African Football (CAF)-approved facility to host international games, remains a pressing concern. As a result, the upcoming World Cup Qualifier between the Warriors and Lesotho will be held at Orlando Stadium in South Africa next month.

Despite ongoing renovations at the National Sports Stadium, critical areas requiring attention have yet to see substantial improvements. The terrace remains unchanged, and essential facilities such as changing rooms still require attention. The only notable change observed during the tour was the installation of an open drainage system to enhance water reticulation.

Following the tour, Vice President Mohadi emphasized the importance of revamping sporting facilities to restore Zimbabwe’s eligibility to host international tournaments. The Ministry of Sport Recreation Arts and Culture has been tasked with submitting a comprehensive report, including budget estimates, to address the renovation challenges.

Funding remains a significant obstacle in the renovation process, despite the allocation of ZWL 136 billion to the Ministry during the 2024 budget, with only a fraction earmarked for the National Sports Stadium.

In response, the Ministry has explored public-private partnerships, with unconfirmed reports suggesting a collaboration with energy company Sakunda Holdings to expedite the renovations. However, details of the partnership agreement and the specific roles of the new partner remain undisclosed.