Council identifies site for new modern stadium

By Albert Nxumalo

BULAWAYO City Council has revealed that it has identified a new site to construct a modern stadium as “current requirements were indicating that  Barbourfields stadium should be demolished.”

However, according to the latest council report, the location of the new site was not disclosed.

Calls to demolish the iconic stadium, built in 1950 grew louder early this year after the Confederation of African Football (Caf) banned Zimbabwean venues including Barbourfields for not meeting the continental body`s requirements.

Barbourfields had provisionally been cleared to host international matches before during an inspection held in November last year.

Based on the council’s Finance and Development Committee, Assistant Director of Housing and Community Services said considerations to construct a new modern stadium were underway.

“The stadium site had been identified,” reads the report in part.

“On the renovation of  Barbourfields stadium, he explained that Barbourfields stadium was constructed in 1950. The current requirements were indicating that  Barbourfields stadium should be demolished. Efforts had been made to meet all the FIFA  required standard for change rooms.”

That was in response to councillors suggestion for the demolition of both Barbourfields and Luveve Stadium or White City Stadium.

Councillor Felix Mhaka had inquired if the city had plans to construct a new modern stadium. 

“His view was to demolish Luveve or White City  Stadium and construct a modern stadium.  He enquired why Barbourfields stadium renovations of the change rooms had not been done according to FIFA required standards.

“Councillor  T.  Maposa had supported the construction of a new stadium.  This would assist in sports development in the City.”

The report said in June, Director of  Housing and Community  Services Dictor Khumalo reported to the Health,  Housing and  Education  Committee that Government had allocated Council a  sum of  ZWL$13  400  000 to assist Council in complying with CAF recommendations.

When the money was released council said it needed $58 million to give Barbourfields Stadium a full facelift to meet all Caf requirements to host international matches.

It said the $13 million grant by the Government through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing will address “short to medium remedial works” at Barbourfields.

“The project had managed to ensure the procurement and installation of Airconditioners, refrigerators, televisions,  furniture and a  conference room sound system as per requirements.

Renovations had been done to change rooms,  press conference room,  meeting room,  media rooms,  match officials rooms,  lounges as well as the general painting of the stadium,  including public seating areas,” outlined the report.

On outstanding works,  the report said the renovated change rooms were too small.

Caf wants the dressing rooms extended, have individual seats, not benches and lockers catering for at least 25 players.

A massage table, five showers and five individual seated toilets are required.

“Designs had been made to meet FIFA specifications. This implied demolitions and new construction, which also required significant budget provisions as well as time to implement.

“Significant work was required to bring the selected practice grounds to the high standards required for  CAF  compliance.”

However, from the report it appears that renovations underway at Barbourfields Stadium will partially address required standards while gobbling lots of funds,  hence calls for a new stadium.

Caf also wants the pitch conditions and surrounding areas improved at Barbourfields Stadium.

They are demanding a level, green and marked playing field.

Other additional requirements include an equipped, dedicated room for first aid and medical treatment of players and officials.

A doping room, separate from first aid room and inaccessible to persons not involved in doping procedures must be constructed near the dressing rooms.

It must have a waiting area and a toilet.

It must have among other things a refrigerator, television set and sufficient seating space for at least eight people.

On spectator related areas, critically for Barbourfields Stadium, individual spectator seats popularly known as bucket seats are needed.

This will reduce stadium capacity by half to between 12 000 and 15 000. These seats must be numbered and made up of an unbreakable, non-flammable material.

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