Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
ZIFA have added their voice to the chorus commending Division One side, Simba Bhora, for leading the Shamva community in the renovations of the small town’s Wadzanai Stadium.

On Tuesday, Government threw its full support behind the community-driven project which saw the residents of Shamva come together, in January this year, in partnering the leadership of their local side to renovate their home ground.

The bare and uneven pitch, which the club used during their successful Division Two campaign last year, has been replaced by a lush green and flat playing surface, with all the work being carried out in the last five months.

The next phase of the renovations at Wadzanai, which are being bankrolled by the Division One club’s leaders with the community providing the labour, on a voluntary basis, will focus on the erection of stands in the next few weeks.

Yesterday, acting ZIFA vice president, Philemon Machana said the renovations being done at Wadzanai Stadium resonate well with their development blueprint.

“What this club is doing is tremendous and it resonates well with our thrust as ZIFA,” Machana said.

“This is what we have been advocating for as an association.

“We need everyone to play their role in developing the game.

“But, I should hasten to say, while it is what we expect, what Simba Bhora have done, and continue to do, is something worth the association’s praise.

“The fact that the team have gone out of their way, just to establish a top stadium in their area, is worth celebrating.

“As an association, we would also want to say the Shamva community are in their own league. You know it is not every day that you see a community uniting for a noble cause.

“As the mother association, we are excited to see a whole community volunteering their labour for a football cause.”

Machana said ZIFA were always encouraging their affiliates to come up with such initiatives.

“Look, we are development-centred. Our vision is to see a total transformation of how clubs, and even grassroots structures, are run,’’ he said.

“As ZIFA, we become happy to see some clubs implementing that vision.

“Remember, at the moment, we are seized with making sure all teams, right from grassroots, conform to Club Licensing requirements.

“To then see a First Division club making such huge steps is as encouraging as it is inspiring. We just hope that other teams, across all divisions, can emulate what Simba Bhora are doing.

“We are encouraging clubs to have the right structures and have qualified personnel for each position. We are delighted to note that some teams, like Simba Bhora, are running their affairs in such a professional manner.’’

On Tuesday, the Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Tino Machakaire, praised both Simba Bhora and the Shamva community.

“Look at the work the team (Simba Bhora) are doing in an area like Shamva. That’s fantastic,” he said.

“As the parent ministry, we are more than delighted to see teams making efforts to complement the work being done by the Government, as well as ZIFA.

“We have always been encouraging individual teams to be professional. Now, that’s the definition of professionalism.

“It is so sad to see football matches, Division One games for that matter, being played on dusty, bumpy surfaces, like we always see.

“We are making efforts, as well, but it is so encouraging to see individual clubs doing such tremendous work to improve conditions of play.

“Shamva, being a rural community, is in a way being modernised. This is our policy, as Government, we would like to see more clubs taking a leaf and implementing such policies. We are more than delighted.

“We wish to see this happening across the country, from school level to the professional level.”

ZIFA Northern Region Division One board member, Sweeny Mushonga, also hailed the initiative.

“Football infrastructure, in the country, is not up to the required standards. We are striving every year to ensure that matches are played in decent facilities,’’ said Mushonga.

“And, to see some clubs making that initiative, is a good thing.

“Our league (Northern Region Division One) is one of the most professionally-run in the country. So, to see part of your constituency doing such wonders to promote our league, is quite encouraging.

“We would like to urge all other clubs to strive to walk the professional lane.”