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SA company to refurbish National Sports Stadium

Coventry revealed the new development while making a presentation before the parliamentary portfolio for committee for Sport, Arts and Recreation.

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE SPORTS minister Kirsty Coventry has revealed that the ministry has engaged a South Africa company to spearhead the refurbishment of the National Sports Stadium.

The local stadium remains banned from hosting international games since the embargo was imposed close to three years ago and refurbishment of the football venue has been moving at a slow pace.

Coventry revealed the new development while making a presentation before the parliamentary portfolio for committee for Sport, Arts and Recreation.

“We are in the process (of refurbishing facilities). We have engaged a company in South Africa that refurbished Soccer City as well as Ellis Park as well as did the entire bid for South Africa to host the Fifa 2010 (World Cup). They are coming in a consultancy to oversee the entire project. It is moving slowly,” the former star swimmer said.

The minister also claimed that there has been sabotage by the Felton Kamambo-led Zifa board in the banning of the local football stadia especially the National Sports Stadium.

“There has been some sabotage that’s been happening. The teams that I sent out to go and look into other stadiums in the region have come back with photographic proof of stadiums which do not have seats which do not have lighting, in terrible conditions that have been sanctioned to be fine to play.

“But our stadium which has lighting, maybe no bucket seats is not. But again it comes back to what the former Zifa board has been doing, the sabotage of calling for your own country to not be able to host games when countries in the region are playing in sanctioned grounds that have way less. The question for me is why Zimbabwe has been treated unfairly,” she said.

Coventry also touched on the subject of the Fifa suspension on Zimbabwe and reiterated the need to ‘clean up’ the game no matter how long it’s going to take for the ban to be lifted.

“It not going to be overnight, it’s going to take us as long as it takes. I am steadfast and firmly believe that it is the time now to clean up our sport that is beloved by so many people and to do the right thing. That will take as long as it needs to take and I firmly have the presidents’ support on that stance as well.

“Obviously we also need to see our soccer moving forward. I sat down with the new executive and I believe we had some good conversations and we just need to make sure that we are all working towards the same goal of ensuring that soccer can be a beaming light for Zimbabwe with a clean slate of putting players, men and women as priority,” Coventry said.

This comes amid calls by a number of Zimbabwean footballers for the authorities to ensure that international football returns.

Zimbabwe’s top international footballers such as France-based Marshall Munetsi, US-based Tatenda Mukuruva, Khama Billiat and Emmanuel Madiranga last week took to social to plea for the end of a prolonged impasse that resulted in the country being suspended from international football by world football governing body Fifa.

Zimbabwe was sanctioned by Fifa earlier this year and thrown out of the qualification competition for the next Africa Cup of Nations tournament on charges of government interference in the affairs of the national football federation, Zifa.

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