AS the 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign kicks off this weekend, five top-flight clubs in Harare will have to congest the National Sports Stadium following the closure of Rufaro Stadium for renovations while Gwanzura was condemned by the First Instance body for failure to meet standards.BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
According to a report by the First Instance, which has replaced the grounds committee which used to inspect stadia, Gwanzura is in a bad state and does not meet the minimum club licensing requirements to host PSL matches.
It needs a major face-lift, according to the First Instance chaired by Piraishe Mabhena.
Rufaro is also undergoing renovations, where authorities are replacing the artificial turf with natural grass.
The stadium, which is home to Dynamos and Harare City, will only be available after the renovations. Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane is also still undergoing some renovations and is yet to be inspected.
Caps United, their bitter rivals Dynamos, Harare City, Premiership newboys Yadah FC and army side Black Rhinos will all have to share the National Sports Stadium until the other two venues are ready for top-flight action.
This development has resulted in the PSL arranging fixtures in such a way that one of the teams in Harare play their matches on Friday in order to ease congestion at the giant stadium.
With Caps United away to Shabanie on Saturday, Harare City take on Yadah at the National Sports Stadium, while Dynamos host FC Platinum at the National Sports Stadium the following day.
However, for the next weekend, Yadah have been fixtured to play their match against ZPC Kariba at the National Sports Stadium on Friday with Black Rhinos taking on Chapungu at the same venue on Saturday before Caps United host Harare City on Sunday.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said Zifa was pushing to ensure the full implementation of the club licensing requirements.
“We want to ensure there is full implementation of the club licensing system so all stadia have to meet the minimum requirement to host PSL matches this season. Gwanzura was deemed unfit to host matches. It is in a bad state without basic facilities including a media centre. Rufaro and Mandava are yet to be inspected by the First Instance body,” Gwesela said.
Yadah FC wanted to use Chibuku Stadium as their home ground, but the club and Chitungwiza Town Council failed to agree on the length of the lease.
The Walter Magaya-owned side had been hoping to invest in Chibuku Stadium, but delays in securing a long-term lease will see the Eastern Region champions having to settle for Gwanzura.
Saturday – Harare City v Yadah (NSS), ZPC Kariba v How Mine (Nyamhunga), Ngezi Platinum v Black Rhinos (Baobab), Chapungu v Triangle United (Ascot), Bantu Rovers v Chicken Inn (Luveve), Tsholotsho v Hwange (Dulivhadzimo)
Sunday – Dynamos v FC Platinum (NSS), Shabanie Mine v Caps United (Maglas), Highlanders v Bulawayo City (Barbourfields)