City of Harare says Rufaro Stadium renovations almost complete; PSL chairman Farai Jere lauds progress


HARARE – The City of Harare has announced that the refurbishment of Rufaro Stadium, the country’s “ceremonial home of football,” is nearing completion, a development that has earned the praise of Premier Soccer League (PSL) Chairman Farai Jere.

Image: City of Harare

Jere, who toured the stadium on Monday, guided by Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume, expressed his satisfaction with the transformation. 

He stated that the stadium’s upgrade has significantly improved its condition, and there should be no hindrance to it hosting matches soon – and that if the the remaining touch-ups are addressed, this will signify the true return of football to the stadium, which has perennially suffered from decades of neglect by its custodians, the City of Harare.

“The league is starting two weeks from now. So the mayor invited me to see what is happening, and there has been a lot of progress from the last time I was here; the dressing rooms are looking immaculate and you can actually see that they are now of world-class standards. The number of showers has been increased,” Jere said.

“You can actually see that the turf is world-class. I can imagine that if this grass is cut and is read for the matches, it is something that is going to be eye-catching,” he added.

Jere commended the renovation team for their work, expressing optimism that the remaining tasks would be completed soon. He also highlighted the installation of new goal posts as a positive development.

Notwithstanding the praises, Mayor Mafume could not provide a specific date for the inspections by the ZIFA First Inspection Board (FIB) to determine the stadium’s readiness to host top-flight league matches.

Image: City of Harare 

Rufaro Stadium has been closed since 2019 for renovations to meet PSL standards. In December 2023, Mafume announced that the stadium would be ready for local premier league use in 2024.

“Extension of changing rooms, construction of a perimeter walls and rehabilitation of ablution facilities was done to our satisfaction. We are planning to officially Commission the first phase of the Renovation Works. Rufaro Stadium will be ready for use in the 2024 football season,” he stated then.

In early January 2024, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) condemned Rufaro Stadium, alongside the National Sports Stadium, as unfit for hosting international football matches.

Despite Mafume’s repeated assurances that Rufaro Stadium is metamorphosing into a world-class sporting facility, CAF recommended that the 61-year-old facility be demolished and rebuilt, if it is to conform to international standards.

Mafume’s plans to stage the Mayor’s Cup between local giants Dynamos and CAPS United on February 10 as a dry run for the 2024 PSL season did not materialize; and the possibility of the Warriors using the venue for its June matches remains uncertain.

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