By Tadious Manyepo
THE Harare City Council are finalising an offer to provide the Premier Soccer League with land to build their headquarters with a decision, on the matter, expected in the next two weeks.
The Council have also offered football clubs the chance to adopt some of their stadia, dotted across the capital, as part of a move to empower the teams and ensure the facilities keep being maintained.
Stewart Mutizwa, the Harare City Mayor, said they were ready to enter into partnerships with the top-flight league and their clubs, in a partnership that will benefit both parties.
Since the league’s formation in 1992, the PSL have been using rented facilities, to conduct their business.
Mutizwa met with PSL chairman, Farai Jere, on Monday.
“As Harare City Council, we believe that the PSL should not be a briefcase organisation, they should have a place which they can be able to call their own,” Mutizwa said.
“We are aware that the organisation should meet the standards, and the basic requirement is for them to have their own place, where they conduct administrative duties from.
“As Council, we have allocated a 5000 square metre land to the PSL in Strathaven for them to build their offices.
“We are finalising, as council, so that we issue them the land in two weeks’ time. There are so many advantages for an organisation of this magnitude to have its own property.”
Mutizwa said they were also prepared to lease some of their stadia to the clubs.
“We are aware of the difficulties, which the teams are facing, especially, pertaining to the issue of stadiums,” said Mutizwa.
“We have various stadiums, around the city, and we are saying the PSL should consider decentralising the game, and take the game to different townships.
“We are ready to partner these teams, for the good of the game, and the city.
“Look, just for an example, CAPS United may consider adopting Mabvuku Stadium, and we agree on how best we can improve that facility, and they will use that stadium for their training and home matches.
“Other teams can adopt Dzivarasekwa, Mufakose, Glen Norah and other stadiums in other suburbs. That will ensure that football is played all over the city, with fans from all townships, having access to the beautiful game.
“As a city, we will also be guaranteed of boosting our urban tourism, so, it’s a win-win situation. We are ready to help out the teams who want to adopt some of the facilities.
“This will go a long way in boosting the club’s coffers and decentralizing the game.”
Mutizwa said since it was important his council start renovating stadia, as a matter of urgency, in light of the impending 2021 domestic football season.
He said the city, in liaison with ZIFA and PSL, have decided to carry out a massive public clean-up campaign at Rufaro, a process which will set the tone for the renovation of the stadium, and other venues including Dzivarasekwa and Gwanzura.
“We are currently working on organising a clean-up campaign at Rufaro Stadium. We will do that in partnership with the public and that will mark the beginning of quick-fire renovations for stadiums around the city,” said Mutizwa.
“We have already budgeted for the renovations at Rufaro, Gwanzura and Dzivarasekwa, as well as other stadiums. We are also open to partnerships for this purpose.
“We want to see sport coming back and we are ready to prepare the venues for the games to bounce back.”
Jere said the allocation of office space will go a long way in addressing professionalism within the game.
“We had a fruitful meeting with His Worship, the Harare Mayor, Councillor (Stewart) Mutizwa on Monday,” said Jere.
“The mayor promised that they will be handing us the land, to construct our PSL offices, in the coming two weeks. This is a huge leap, in our quest, to become a professional organisation.
“Just imagine that the clubs, which are under us, are supposed to be meeting club licensing requirements, including owning their own club houses, yet we don’t even have a place that we call our own.
“We should be seen, to be leading by example and in my manifesto in 2018, I promised that when I get elected, the issue of a PSL head office would be top of my priority list.
“I can’t afford to leave without fulfilling this promise and I would like to thank the Harare City Council. I would like to salute the Mayor for his brilliant football ideas, which he raised during our meeting.
“He proposed the issue of building partnerships between the City Council and PSL clubs. The issue of PSL offices has always been topical and I am happy that, at last, we will have something to point at.
“This is a landmark development and I would like to thank the mayor and the City Council.”