Covid-19 delays refurbishments 



Helen Kadirire


HARARE City Council (HCC) has lamented the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak for derailing their renovations at Rufaro and Gwanzura.

The two venues were all condemned by the First Instance Body (Fib) which has left all Harare-based teams in a spot of bother.

The 2020 Castle Lager Premiership season should have commenced in March but the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible.

If the league would get the green light to kick-off, all Harare-based sides  — CAPS United, Dynamos, Cranborne Bullets, Black Rhinos, Yadah and Herentals if they are readmitted in the league — would all have to travel outside of the capital for their home matches.

This has forced HCC to hasten their renovations at Rufaro and Gwanzura but their efforts are being hampered by the lockdown put in place to curb the spread of the novel virus.

In the last two months, the city has experienced a decline in revenue collection with most funds now going towards testing, treatment and surveillance of Covid-19.

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said the fall in revenue has greatly affected the speed at which the city refurbishes the two venues.

Prior to the lockdown which started on March 30, council was collecting between $24 and $28 million monthly from rates and other services.

“Covid-19 did disrupt the timelines that council had. Rufaro’s playing surface, turnstiles and borehole were supposed to have been completed by May while works at Gwanzura were to be completed by end of June 2020,” he said.

“Because of low revenue which is now averaging $3 million, all the works have been derailed. The finances are now being channelled towards a more immediate and pressing need which is the fight against Covid-19.”

Chideme said at Gwanzura Stadium, upgrading of the sewer line was 100 percent complete including internal deblocking and enhancement of drainage complete.

The artificial turf has already been purchased with workers now levelling the surface before its installation. Solar-powered boreholes have already been drilled and connected to supply the venue with water. At Rufaro, designs for new changing rooms, doping and press rooms have been done while the old toilets have been demolished.

The turnstiles have been repaired, ground levelling is now at 80 percent and gravelling of the car park is done.

Solar panels for boreholes have been installed on the roof of the western grand stand.

Another borehole has already been paid for and drilling and it’s installation are to be completed soon.

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