NSS facelift needs $234m , to host international matches
THE National Sports Stadium has been neglected for more than ten years that it now requires over ZWL$200m for facelift to meet all the required standards to host international matches.
This was revealed by Acting Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Retired Colonel Joseph Mhakayakora giving oral evidence on the state of local stadiums before the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation at the National Assembly yesterday.
National Sports Stadium currently under renovation
The committee chaired by Mathias Tongofa summoned various football stakeholders following the ban of local stadiums by the Confederation of African Football.
And speaking before the committee, Rtd Col Mhakayakora they were aware that NSS needed major touch-ups but their calls for funding fall on deaf ears.
“. . . we knew as Ministry of Local Government and Public Works last year and years before that the stadium needs constant maintenance. Most of the issues that have been mentioned in the CAF letter, we bid for funds from treasury.
“We actually bid this last financial year, we bid for $234m which is exactly the figure we sent to the Ministry of Finance to uplift the stadium and meet the international requirements. Bucket seats alone requires US$9,6m, just bucket seats, you change that to whatever rate it becomes 234. We have been given $22,2m.
“National Sports Stadium is the one that we maintain on the day to day basis, we created a stadia funds three years ago so that we retain 15 per cent from the gate takings. It is that 15 per cent and other activities which take place at the stadium which we use to maintain the stadium,” he said.
Rtd Col Mhakayakora said the giant stadium is now in its dire state because there has not been major facelift for a decade now.
“Over the years, there is no allocation whatsoever from Ministry of Finance, the last major maintenance that we saw at the stadium is 10 years when we closed the stadium and used the Chinese grant to maintain the stadium. That’s why it is in this state. We have not received anything from the fiscus,” said Rtd Col Mhakayakora.
He also bemoaned lack of maintenance culture as another reason the country’s stadia have been condemned.
“We have no culture of maintenance in this country, it’s not because we don’t want to maintain, it’s because there is no culture.”
Zifa have also been blamed for failing to surrender the fifteen per cent from their matches which should go towards the maintenance of the ground.
“We don’t get much money, football matches on their own don’t bring any money, very little and if they are international matches, we are owed money which the auditor general has mentioned every now and again from the same Zifa, after a match they don’t want to pay,” he said.
Rtd Col Mhakayakora is, however, hopeful that the work being done at the National Sports Stadium and Barbourfields will be completed in time for the Algeria encounter on March 29.
The same sentiments were shared by Sports Ministry Acting Permanent Secretary Benson Martins Dube who said all stakeholders are working round the clock, hopeful of another CAF inspection before the match.
Dube told the Portfolio Committee all the aspects that need to be improved will be completed on short-term and long-term programmes.
Representatives from Harare City Council – owners of Rufaro, Gwanzura and Dzivaresekwa, Mutare City Council who runs Sakubva and Zvishavane Town Council who owns Mandava also gave an update on their respective facilities.
Bulawayo City Council and Zifa did not attend despite being summoned.