The money is a large chunk of the overall budget of the tournament
The council needs an estimated US$1 032 217 for the installation of bucket seats for the VIP section, upgrading of public toilets and sprucing up the eyesore surroundings of Rufaro, the country’s oldest football stadium.
The state of Zimbabwe’s stadia, which cost the country the rights to host the 2000 African Nations Cup finals, has remained below standard.
Bucket seats are now a common feature in stadia around the world with even some African countries having upgraded to that level.
The compressed seating arrangements of Zimbabwe’s stadia distort official capacity. The municipality-owned Rufaro’s estimated capacity of 35 000 will be reduced to 22 000 if proper seats are installed around the ground. The 14-team Cosafa competition will run from October 17 to November 1 at Rufaro and Barbourfields stadium in Bulawayo.
At a special council meeting on Wednesday, Harare councillors said the money would also be needed to upgrade floodlights, installation of an electronic scoreboard, repairing broken parts of the stadium perimeter wall, lasing in front of terraces, installation of boom gates and a public address system.
The estimated cost has since been submitted to the Ministry of Finance. In the event that the ministry fails to provide the funds, Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi said council would seek authority of its finance and development committee to source the funds “from a certain department of council”.
Some councillors however doubt the authority’s capacity to raise that amount.
Councillor Sasha Jogi said the council should find other alternatives.
“We should engage the hospitality industry instead of just going to the Minister of Finance,” he said. “The stadium surroundings are in a very bad state. I’m quite sure the hospitality industry will help us.”