Rufaro Stadium is located on the heart of Zimbabwe's capital city Harare in the suburb of Mbare. It is the country's second biggest stadium and is generally regarded as Zimbabwe's home of football due to it being used as a home ground by some of the country's most successful teams such as Dynamos Football Club.
Rufaro stadium was officially opened in early September 1972 after its construction.
The giant 35 000 seater stadium is owned by the Harare City Council. The local authority which operates under the Ministry of Local Government is responsible for its maintenance, well being and upkeep. Besides sporting activities, the local authority also hires the stadium for other activities such as musical concerts, weddings and parties.
The Home of Happiness
The name Rufaro in the local Shona language has connotations of joy, conviviality, excitement and happiness. Indeed, this is somewhat a true reflection of the stadium. On the eve of Zimbabwe's independence day in April 1980, Rufaro Stadium was filled to capacity by jovial Zimbabweans who had come to celebrate the country's Independence and the inauguration of the long serving president Robert Mugabe. On the same day in 1980, the popular reggae icon Bob Marley performed and brought a frenzy of boundless joy to the celebrating crowd.
Rufaro Stadium and Football
Talking of Rufaro Stadium in Zimbabwe can be equated to a football talk. Since the 1960s, Rufaro Stadium has been used as Dynamos Football Club's home ground. Being one of the successful teams which has stand the taste of time in the country, the stadium has hosted a number of crucial local, friendly and international matches. Teams such as Caps United Football Club and Black Rhinos Football Club have also used the stadium as their home ground.
The Zimbabwe National team popularly known as The Warriors have on numerous occasions used the stadium as their home ground for both training and matches. Regional tournaments such as Cosafa games have been held in the at the celebrated stadium. Locally it has hosted major tournaments such as the Zifa Unity Cup, the Bob Cup, Premier Soccer League matches and Mbada Diamonds Cup. In 2008, the stadium was renovated and an artificial turf was inserted in order to match international standards.
Violence and Hooliganism
Besides the celebratory outlook portrayed by the locals about the stadium, there are some aspects of violence and hooliganism associated with Rufaro Stadium. The Vietnam Arena of the stadium is well known for being a no-go area for non-Dynamos supporters. During Dynamos matches, violence usually emerged from this end of the stadium which houses most only Dynamos fans.
The official seating capacity of the stadium is 35 000. The bulk of the seats are in the Grand Stand wing. There is also the VIP wing which is houses important gusts during matches. The Vietnam wing is usually a preserve for Dynamos or home team supporters whilst the other wings are for the visiting teams.
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