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Govt avails $13m for BF upgrade

by Staff reporter
04 Mar 2020 at 07:53hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has released $13 million to be used for refurbishing parts of Barbourfields Stadium to ready the ground for a Caf re-inspection ahead of the Warriors' Afcon qualifier against Algeria at the end of this month.

Bulawayo City Council needs $58 million to give Barbourfields Stadium a full facelift to meet all Caf requirements to host international matches.

BCC said release of the $13 million grant by the Government through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing will address "short to medium remedial works" at Barbourfields.

What needs urgent attention to restore Caf's conditional clearance to stage international matches are teams' dressing rooms, referees' changing rooms, doping and first aid rooms.

Caf last week rescinded Barbourfields Stadium's temporary clearance to stage international matches after no follow-up work was done since the Caf grounds inspection in November last year.

This left Zifa facing the possibility of hosting the first leg of the Warriors' Afcon qualifier against African champions Algeria in one of the neighbouring countries. But with the Government moving in to rescue an embarrassing situation for domestic football where both the Warriors and national Under-20 women's team faced the sad reality  of playing their home matches in neighbouring countries, BCC is now determined to move "mountains" to get Barbourfields ready.

A team of workmen has been dispatched to Barbourfields Stadium as council prepares for the "real work" to start.

A Government contractor that will work hand-in-hand with the local authority was expected to meet BCC director of housing and community services Dictor Khumalo yesterday.

"I'm pleased to say that the Ministry of Local Government and Public works has confirmed the release of a $13 million grant, which we had applied for, for short remedial works at Barbourfields Stadium," said Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni.

"In addition, the Ministry has procured a contractor, who will work on Barbourfields and National Sports stadia. The contractor will start as soon as possible in preparation for the next inspection by Caf and the international match. I'm advised the contractor should be in Bulawayo this (yesterday) afternoon," said the mayor.

Khumalo was busy supervising preparations at Barbourfields Stadium, which will also host Zimbabwe's 40th Independence celebrations on April 18.

"As you can see, it's not that we've not been doing anything while waiting for the Government grant. We have been working on improving the pitch condition so that the surface is even. We've also been working on internal renovations," said Khumalo.

"Most of the things needed require procurement and fitting. Except the bucket seats and floodlights which we categorised under long-term projects, the rest of the requirements will be addressed with speed to make the venue playable for the Algeria game," he said.

Council has already identified a supplier to replace the steel goalposts with aluminum ones. Council said the company it declined to name, would provide the movable aluminum goalposts ahead of the next Caf inspection expected before March 20. Two of the 12 showers in each of the teams' dressing rooms will be destroyed to accommodate three toilets as required by Caf.  

Lockers will also be added to the dressing rooms as well as the referees' changing rooms. If BCC moves with speed and acquires equipment early, remedial work on Barbourfields Stadium should be done by March 20, with floodlights and bucket seats remaining as the only outstanding requirements.

Meanwhile, former Premiership fixtures secretary Beadle Musa Gwasira donated 100 bags of cement to be used at Barbourfields Stadium and a fridge for the referees' room.

Herentals Group of Colleges also pledged to finance installation of air conditioners in the teams and match officials' dressing rooms as well as in the doping room. Mayor Mguni commended Gwasira and Herentals' gesture, encouraging more partners to come on board.

Source - chronicle

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