THE Public Works ministry has shut the National Sports Stadium again, leaving the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League and the Mbada Diamonds Cup final organisers in a fix.
Report by Kevin Mapasure
This comes barely months after other renovations were carried out earlier this year.
The Mbada Diamonds Cup final was billed for the stadium at the end of next month, but is likely to be moved to Rufaro if maintenance work is not complete by then.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League management has already been informed of the closure and pleas for postponement of the renovations were met with resistance.
In a letter to the PSL, and Caps United who have been using the facility as their home ground, the ministry said it wanted to carry out renovations to improve the stadium’s drainage system.
The Mbada Diamonds Cup final last season was adversely affected by poor drainage, with Dynamos and Motor Action having to play in a waterlogged pitch in a match littered with a series of stoppages.
PSL chief executive officer Kenny Ndebele confirmed receipt of the letter adding that the organisation of fixtures would present a big challenge.
In the capital, Caps’ alternative training ground is Rufaro stadium, which is home to Dynamos and Harare City while Blue Rangers use Gwanzura.
The Mbada Diamonds Cup final is expected to be a big event as the curtain falls on the domestic football season.
The money-spinning Mbada tournament resumes weekend as the eight remaining teams fight it out for places in the last four.
Caps, whose ambition is to win the cup and subsequently a place in next year’s Confederation Cup, travel to Chiredzi for a date with Buffaloes while champions Dynamos collide with Gunners at Baghdad stadium in Kwekwe. Caps and Buffaloes played out two draws in the league but Caps coach Taurai Mangwiro said: “We just need to improve on the ability to kill off opposition and I am sure we will be able to do that against Buffaloes in the cup match.”
In Hwange, Highlanders, still bitter at their 3-0 thumping by Monomotapa in a league match, have a chance for revenge when they clash with the Harare side.
Another explosive Zvishavane derby is on the cards as Shabanie take on FC Platinum at Mandava.
Much is at stake for FC Platinum who have an ultimatum to win the cup or risk having their franchise sold by Mimosa.