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Chitungwiza’s Chibuku Stadium will be upgraded by a private developer under a scheme announced by the municipality, with the developer able to get the return on the investment from council’s percentage of gate takings and hire fees.
The now tatty and poorly maintained stadium used to host Division One games and council hopes it can even reach the stage where it can host Premier League matches.
This new approach is a change of heart for the council, which has rejected private partnerships in the past.
Yadah FC club owner, Prophet Walter Magaya, had promised a facelift for the stadium that would leave it as a reasonable football ground, but his ambitions hit a brick wall after Chitungwiza municipal officials said they were only prepared to offer him a three-year lease and require the club to pay a monthly rent to the council.
Now Chitungwiza is seeking formal tenders, with interested developers required to make the needed site visit and buy the usual tender documents and plans.
Acting Chitungwiza town clerk Mrs Evangelista Machona yesterday said upgrading of Chibuku Stadium into a state-of-the-art facility is in line with the council’s urban regeneration exercise.
“On Chibuku Stadium we are looking for someone to come on board and do the renovations to a state-of-the-art stadium,” she said.
“He or she would recoup the money through gate-takings during matches and any other activities that would be taking place when we hire out the place. As we are the third largest urban settlement in the country, it is one of the facilities we should have in place to accommodate our population in terms of sporting facilities.”
Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association secretary-general Mr Gift Kurupa was supportive of the scheme.
“Chibuku is the only stadium in Chitungwiza and the upgrade is overdue. We want to have Premier League games in our town since most of the coaches are from our town,” he said.
Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association acting director, Mr Brighton Kanyama said the proposed project was a step in the right direction and hoped that the tendering process will be transparent.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust director Ms Alice Kuveya also welcomed the development.
“As residents we welcome this kind of progress to upgrade Chibuku Stadium by our city fathers. It is long overdue,” she said.
“Chibuku Stadium is our only hope to generate revenue.”