Rufaro Stadium Not Ready For The Dynamos Vs CAPS United Match
Rufaro Stadium won’t host the Harare Derby, the match between Dynamos and CAPS United on Sunday, due to renovations not meeting deadlines.
Football fans have been eagerly waiting for the stadium’s return after lying unused for over three years, despite being the favourite and most convenient stadium among Harare fans.
Rufaro was condemned several times by inspectors due to lack of maintenance but there has been renewed hope after the City of Harare embarked on renovations.
Harare Mayor, Councillor Jacob Mafume initially promised football fans that the pitch would be ready by March just before the start of the season, before extending the target to the end of April in time for the Harare Derby, which kicks off this weekend. He told journalists:
We are working around the clock to ensure that the ground will be ready to host matches this season… but what we are now working on is to ensure that the ground will be ready to host the Harare Derby between Dynamos and CAPS United.
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We have already done the samples of the bucket seats and we have already started the procurement processes and by the time we open it for games at least, three stands will have the bucket seats.
The turf will be ready very soon, three-quarters of the pitch has been levelled and the irrigation equipment has already been bought and has been installed.
So, once we do the massive watering on the pitch, we are positive that the Harare Derby will be played in Rufaro.
Mafume promised to change everything at Rufaro Stadium, including the VIP stands, and the media area, and install bucket seats gradually until the entire stadium was covered. He said the local government authority would construct a shower for every player in the changing rooms to avoid queues and make the changing rooms more spacious, and comfortable for both home and away teams.
Recent images showed that the changing rooms and many other areas were still being attended to. But there has been a noticeable improvement in the state of the pitch. Visitors are also quickly greeted by the progress made outside the main arena, where the renovations on the parking area, as well as the construction of a shopping complex and the perimeter wall, are prominent.
However, there is still no sight of bucket seats at the stadium. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in order for the ground to meet the CAF and FIFA-approved standards, though.
The local stadium inspectors made up of members from PSL and ZIFA, have recommended extensive changes for Rufaro Stadium to meet CAF and FIFA standards. In 2019, they identified areas that needed attention before the stadium could host league matches. These include:
1). Leveling the playing surface,
2). Installing new perimeter support structures and razor wire,
3). Overhauling drainage and ablution facilities,
4). Expanding and upgrading dressing rooms.
5). Improvements for physically challenged individuals,
6). Clearer stadium direction signs,
7). Bucket seats for spectators, and
8). Enhanced cleaning of the stadium and surroundings.
The CAF inspection committee made similar recommendations, including constructing standard doping rooms, a medical facility, press rooms, television camera points, and modern electronic turnstiles.
Harare City Council recently turned down an offer from Sakunda Holdings who had wanted to turn the stadium into a state-of-the-art facility on a US$5m budget.