Govt admits failure – says National Sports Stadium completion not possible this year

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By Sport Reporter

DEPUTY Minister of Sport Recreation Arts and Culture Emily Jesaya on Wednesday revealed that National Sports Stadium renovations will not be completed this year considering the amount of work that still needs to be done.

She was speaking after Sports Recreation Arts and Culture Parliamentary Portfolio Committee had abandoned their tour of the facility citing the lack of progress on the ongoing renovations.

“We have made significant strides which possibly to date may not be seen because we have some other works which we are waiting for.

“So I just want to take this time and opportunity to address the nation and say the ministry is committed and we are going to work with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee to make sure we do the refurbishment in time.

“Possibly we may not be able to do it this year but we want to assure the nation that we will play here in Zimbabwe,” said Jesaya.

During the 2024 national budget, the Minister of Finance allocated 136 billion Zimbabwean dollars to the Ministry of Sport and 24 billion of that amount was specifically for the renovations of the National Sports Stadium.

This gave confidence to Minister of Sport Recreation Arts and Culture Kirsty Coventry to tell the Portfolio Committee that the stadium will be ready to host international games by June. The deadline was not met and the Warriors have since adopted Orlando Stadium in South Africa as their home ground for their match against Lesotho scheduled for June 7.

Sports and Recreation Commission chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa told the Portfolio Committee that the government is yet to release the promised funds hence it has hindered all the progress.

“Let’s go back to what the Minister said to Parliament, that was also on the back of assurances she had got from the treasury.

“This is why I am saying we need to take collective responsibility and ask ourselves why the renovations are not happening as expected.

“At the end of the day if Treasury has not met its promise we remain tied also on pushing the works.

“We also have to be reminded that some of the funds might have been diverted because of the declared national disaster of an El Nino drought,” said Mlotshwa.

At the present moment, changing rooms are still the same, so are the ablution facilities.

The only notable change is the surrounding trenches for the water reticulation system although the pipes are yet to be fitted.

There is also a need for new electronic turnstiles, bucket seats and electronic screens to be fitted at the giant stadium.