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'Demolition of BF not an option'

MATABELELAND North Senator Alice Dube, says demolishing Barbourfields for the iconic structure to meet FIFA and CAF standards must never be an option.

Instead, Dube, a member of the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Sport, Arts and Recreation, feels all efforts must be done to bring the stadium to the expected standards needed by the football governing bodies.

The Tsholotsho-based legislator said her fears were that once Emagumeni, as Barbourfields is also affectionately known, was demolished, the region will remain without a proper football stadium for probably the next 20 years.

She was speaking when the committee toured Barbourfields to assess progress in the renovations of the stadium. Another senator who was part of the entourage had questioned why resources should be channelled towards the 70-year-old facility instead of demolishing it and building a new structure.

"That is not an option (to demolish), it must not be an option now and in future,'' said Dube.

"Instead, resources must be channelled towards improving this stadium so that it draws closer towards meeting those required standards because we don't want our people to remain without a stadium.

"Constructing a new stadium is not a stroll in the park and it's certainly not an overnight project, we have been to other areas and the position was that those stadiums must be refurbished to meet standards.

"So why should Barbourfields Stadium be demolished? The idea was wrong, it's still wrong and it will perpetually be wrong.''

The legislators were told that one of the requirements by FIFA and CAF was the installation of bucket seats which will see the stadium's seating capacity dramatically reduced from 21 450 to about 12 000.

Owners of the stadium, Bulawayo City Council, through their project manager, Thembinkosi Ncube, told the committee they had met most of the requirements for the facility to receive a green light.

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