BY TERRY MADYAUTA

GWERU City Council (GCC) has announced plans to lease out Ascot Stadium after failing to maintain the football facility.The latest position marked a major shift from the city’s previous stance where it indicated that it was not open to any form of assistance.

Division One side Sheasham were blocked from making improvements on the facility.GCC, however, has had a change of heart as the stadium has been in a pathetic state, having gone for the last seven months without proper maintenance.

And while various sporting facilities have been upgraded during the COVID-19 lockdown, including the nearby Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane, Ascot has degenerated into a eyesore.
Speaking to NewsDay Sport, Gweru City Council spokesperson Vimbai Chingwaramusee admitted that there had been no progress at the stadium owing to challenges being faced by the local authority.

“For now we have only managed to cut the grass in the pitch but the other changes have not been possible because of challenges we are facing as a council.

“We are considering bringing in private players to help upgrade this facility, but it is a process that might even take long for us to finish,” she said.In the recent years, Ascot Stadium has been blacklisted by Zifa’s first instance board due to its poor state.

Efforts by former Nichrut proprietor Nicholas Gara to renovate some key areas at the facility in 2018 suffered a stillbirth following the relegation and folding of the club.
TelOne FC also made strenuous strides to upgrade the facility by sinking a borehole, extending the dressing rooms but their relegation halted all progress.

At the moment, the stadium has a bumpy turf which has not been properly maintained since January. The mandatory media and VIP stands are still to be constructed, which casts a spell on newly-promoted Whawha’s prospects of hosting PSL matches at the facility.

The poor state of Ascot Stadium mirrors the state of affairs in relation to most of the country’s sporting facilities, as the National Sports and Barbourfields stadia are yet to be certified by Caf with the Warriors set to resume their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers soon.

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