Jere confident of National Sports Stadium Renovations

But Jere, who made it into parliament for the first time in the August harmonised elections and is also the owner of CAPS United Football Club was full of praise for Ncube.

PREMIER Soccer League chairman and Member of Parliament for Murehwa West, Farai Jere, has expressed delight with the 2024 National Budget, which he says will allow for National Sports Stadium renovations.

In his 2024 proposed  budget, Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube allocated $136, 2 billion to the  to the Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture ministry for the rehabilitation of major stadia  as well as for the construction of multi-purpose facilities for sport, recreation and cultural creative industries within communities.

The allocation translates to roughly US$20 million using the official bank rate while the parallel market rate virtually halves it to about US$11 million.

But Jere, who made it into parliament for the first time in the August harmonised elections and is also the owner of CAPS United Football Club was full of praise for Ncube.

“The part, which impressed me in Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s budget is to avail the entire budget for the renovation of the National sports stadium as a start. That asset is needed, we are talking of the pride of our country, that is where our pride is,” he told Standardsport.

“We cannot have our people playing football outside the country and this is a place, which can expose us as a government. How? "Everyone else after they have done their work on weekends, they all converge at one place to watch their beautiful game of football.

“We need this sport because people are going to measure your success through sport whilst we are doing all these other projects. But areas like our stadiums where most of our people spend their time are being taken care of. So it’s a very good budget and it’s taking care of everyon.”

Local football is experiencing its worst stadium problem since the country's independence and the last season Harare clubs had to look for home grounds in other cities after the National Sports Stadium underwent turf rehabilitation a quarter way into the league season.

Since 2019, Rufaro Stadium has not hosted a top-tier league game due to slow-moving repairs.

The Zimbabwe Warriors played their World Cup qualifiers home match at Huye Stadium in Rwanda last month which brought huge embarrassment to the country.

During a National Assembly debate on President Mnangagwa's state of the nation address at the official opening of the 10th Parliament in October of this year, Jere urged Parliament to pass a law governing sport in the nation immediately, emphasising the need for infrastructure, particularly stadiums for football, the most popular sport in the nation.

“One thing I would like to say to this honourable House is that laws are very critical as they are the tools of development,” he said.

 “One Bill that I am going to look at is the Sports Bill, I have a lot of interest in sport and it is sad that we don’t have a stadium to host (international football) matches.”

Jere, however, told this publication that Rufaro Stadium will be back to hosting matches at the start of the new season.

“I can tell you with good authority that just as much as you are focusing on the National Sports Stadium, I was talking to the mayor and Rufaro Stadium will be back by the time we start our season,” he added.

At the start of last season, only six stadia, the NSS, Barbourfields, Luveve, Mandava, Baobab and Gibbo were cleared by the First Instance Body (FIB) for the 18-team league, with Harare alone having five teams — Dynamos, Caps United, Herentals, Yadah, Cranborne Bullets and Black Rhinos — to use one stadium.

After the City of Harare promised to open the Rufaro Stadium gates to league football during the course of last season, there was marked progress in the upgrading of the facility.

The perimeter wall, car park and shops as well as the grass and dressing rooms had been completed by the end of the season.

Related Topics