From George Maponga in Masvingo
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation on Monday raised a red flag over the state of Mucheke Stadium and implored Masvingo City Council to urgently commit resources towards its facelift.

The committee noted that major issues that needed urgent attention were the turf, drainage system and toilets. Mucheke was the home of former Premier Soccer League outfit Masvingo United before its relegation from the top flight league. Concern was also raised over the stadium’s changing rooms and sitting bays which are also in a state of disrepair.

The parliamentary committee is on a nationwide tour of all major stadia in the country to assess their readiness to host major sporting events and also the state of recreational facilities in major towns.

Speaking after a tour of Mucheke Stadium yesterday the committee’s chair and Zanu-PF Chivi North legislator Cde Mathias Tongofa lamented the poor state of the facility.

Cde Tongofa challenged council to upgrade the stadium to be able to host international sporting events.

“From what we have seen here at Mucheke Stadium, I want to say that this facility falls short of meeting the minimum standards of a good stadium and there a number of grey areas that need attention.

“The state of this facility falls below the minimum standards expected and something must be done to address this issue,” said Cde Tongofa.

“The pitch itself is in bad shape and we also noted the poor state of sitting bays that need to be overhauled. There is need for a facelift of the entire facility from toilets, changing rooms and the turf. There is also need to make sure that this stadium is able to protect spectators in the event of rains.”

He challenged Masvingo City council to consider partnerships with interested players to help facelift Mucheke.

Other legislators took Masvingo City council to task for failing to install new toilet seats yet they were purchasing top of the range vehicles for senior officials.
Mutasa Central legislator Mr Trevor Saruwaka said council could use devolution funds to upgrade the stadium. In response Acting Town Clerk Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa conceded that the state of the stadium was not desirable. He cited revenue dearth as one of the reasons stalling the facelift of the stadium.

“We are carrying out a number of projects that are chewing most of our revenue. We cannot invest more into the facelifting of Mucheke but we have taken note of concerns raised by the committee and we will try to attend to some of the grey areas that they pointed,” said Engineer Mukaratirwa.

The committee continues its nationwide tour today with visits to assess stadiums and sporting facilities in Matebeleland North, Bulawayo and the Midlands, among others.