Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
WHILE the Epworth Local Board are dragging their feet over the proposed construction of the Olympafrica High-performance Centre in the peri-urban settlement, Harare City Council have taken a giant leap in their quest to build a new multi-purpose stadium in the High Glen area of Budiriro.
The ELB stand accused of parcelling out residential and commercial stands on the site which the Olympafrica Foundation had pledged to develop into a sporting hive.
So casual were the ELB that they delayed to move “illegal settlers” off the earmarked area until the Olympafrica Foundation became impatient and withdrew their funding late last year. Though Youth, Arts, Sport and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, intervened to resuscitate the neglected project following her visit to Epworth in March, nothing has been done as yet.
Youths and concerned Epworth residents have of late been up in arms with the ELB over the dithering.
One of Epworth’s most development centred sons, Musekiwa Khumbula, had spearheaded the Olympafrica Centres initiative.
With fears that the project might die a natural death, it’s a different story altogether in Harare after the Harare City Council yesterday reaffirmed their commitment to honour the pledge they made early this year to build a new multi-purpose stadium.
The much-hyped construction of the High Glen Stadium is finally taking shape after authorities approved the release of $1,4 million which is part of reserved funds for preliminary works. The 45 000-seater facility will be constructed in phases and the designing as well as drawing of plans is set to start soon after the disbursement of the funds.
Harare City Council spokesman Mr Michael Chideme confirmed the development yesterday.
“The Harare City Council is now scouting for partners to come aboard and assist in bringing the city’s dream to reality. The designs and drawing of plans as well as all the preliminary works should be underway soon. The new proposed structure speaks to modernity and shows a lot of vision and throught process. We are headed for some exciting times,” said Chideme.
“We are bound by the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:150) which mandates local authorities to provide sport and recreational facilities to its residents. We are doing exactly that.”
Mr Chideme said the High Glen Stadium, whose total budget for the construction of the stadium is yet to be finalised, will go a long way in decentralising sport in the city of Harare.
“We hope when the stadium is finally built, it will help decentralise venues for sport
ing activities. Our vision is to take sporting activities to the residents’ doorstep. We are also working on revamping Dzivaresekwa and Gwanzura stadiums.”