As part of efforts to ensure that Emagumeni attains the required CAF standards to host international football matches, several refurbishment works have been noted. Some of those areas include attention to the lighting system, playing field, signage, and media facilities.
The dressing rooms also fell short with CAF officials indicating that they were too small, hence the need to increase their capacity.
While addressing the Youth, Sport, Arts, and Recreation Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that was touring the facility this Thursday, Project Manager for the works, Thembinkosi Ncube revealed that a portion of the stadium was to be demolished to bring it to the desired standards.
"We have plans again on how we intend to address this. It is demolishing the existing changing rooms without affecting the superstructure and having additions built in so that we have large change rooms," said the project manager.
Chairperson of the committee that has been touring various sporting facilities in the country, Honourable Mathias Tongofa believes a new paradigm is needed for the sport to thrive.
"I think we need to change our mindset and take the sport as a business. In my view, we are not taking sport as a business. We are not utilising the opportunities that sport can provide in terms of economic contribution. Maintenance seems to be lacking," said Honourable Tongofa.
Honourable Tongofa also took a swipe at the Bulawayo City Council for not attending the event, noting that this was not the first time they have snubbed such a gathering.
"We are going to summon them to Harare so that they come and explain why they were not attending, why they did not attend this meeting, and did not come to Harare. I would say we are not happy as a committee. We don't want such kind of things."
During the gathering, it was reiterated that devolution funds could be also used to spruce up the facility as this would bring large inflows of income when it reaches the required standard.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation has come face to face with the state of neglect that is facing Ascot stadium despite the facility being the only approved stadium for the country's topflight league in Gweru.
The legislators who are on a fact-finding mission on the state of affairs of sports and recreational facilities in the country got a chance to witness how the Gweru City Council has failed to take advantage of the current national lockdown to spruce up Ascot Stadium ahead of the 2020 league fixtures.
The honourable Mathias Tongofa led committee expressed disappointment at the lack of will to direct resources towards sporting facilities by the city fathers.
"What is clear is that this council lacks interest in dealing with sporting facilities in the city. As you can see there is grass growing on the turf and a mere glance shows that this facility has not been attended to in a very long time," said honourable Tongofa.
"The team is clueless about how important these facilities are to the country's development and therefore we took advantage of the visit to educate them on how others are making meaningful partnerships."
Gweru Mayor councillor, Josiah Makombe had to come to the rescue of the city's Assistant Director of Housing and Community Services Unit Jaji, after she failed to give satisfactory answers on how they are failing to maintain the sporting facility.
"Let me say after we received funding such as devolution funds which could be used for such facilities, we had some critical areas that needed attention. We had issues like water which affected people as we needed to buy some pumps before we could consider recreational facilities. Our budget is also very constrained and maybe thus why my director was at pains in explaining some of these issues," said the mayor.
Ascot Stadium is home to premier league side, Whawha as well as and division one outfits Shesham, Chapungu and TelOne Football Club.
The stadium which was banned by the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) from hosting Castle Premier Soccer League matches had to get a reprieve after the business community and Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) assisted in sprucing up the facility to match the set standards.
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