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THE National Sports Stadium in Harare epitomises Zimbabwe’s substandard football facilities.

While Angola was displaying impressive modern stadia during the just-ended African Nations Cup, Zimbabwe’s best football facility is lying in a sorry state as renovation work, which has rendered it a white elephant for three years, still visibly incomplete.

Public Works minister Theresa Makone summed it up during a tour of the stadium on Tuesday to assess the progress made by project manager Tendai Chiwanza and a Chinese construction firm when she said: “The stadium is not up to scratch at all. “There are still areas with water leakages and a weedy garden. And we’ve been talking about using our stadiums as training venues for teams coming to South Africa for the World Cup!”

Last year media reports said local manual workers were not reporting for work due to low pay.

Chiwanza said the slow progress was due to constant power cuts. Some of the Chinese personnel, he said, left the country to attend the Chinese Spring Festival and had not returned.

Last month following an attack on the Togo team by gunmen ahead of the African Nations Cup in Angola, Zifa declared readiness to host the tournament if it was taken away from Angola, exposing the authorities’ deep lack of appreciation of standards required to stage such a tournament.

 

Ashley Marimo

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