Home » Governance » Minister Queries Stadium Cost

INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has described as scandalous the estimates by JR Goddard Construction that construction of Tsholotsho Stadium was likely to reach $4,5 million.

Prof Moyo yesterday met the contractors and engineers at his Munhumutapa offices where he revealed he was not happy with the high estimated cost of the project and the slow progress in the construction of the stadium.

The track at the stadium was estimated to cost $2 million and this would be inclusive of the $4,5 million projected cost.

But, the minister, who objected to the estimated cost by the constructors, began the meeting by joking that his own calculations showed the project will cost $500 000.

The project, though, should not cost more than $3 million.

The eventual agreement yesterday was that JR Goddard and Contractors will come up with the fact-based cost after stadium plan is produced in about two weeks and Government will also use the same facts to price the project.

Government has taken over the project to assist the Tsholotsho Rural District Council in the construction of the stadium.

JR Goddard Construction, a leading civil engineering and construction company, Masimba Holdings (formerly Murray and Roberts), and Oliken Engineering have been roped into the project which has received support from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has given a Casino licence, while the Ministry of Environment has also allocated a hunting concession to help raise funds for the venture.

However, there are concerns that the project was lagging behind.

The minister said he wanted the preliminary work sped up before the contractors move in, but he said the estimated cost was scandalous.

The stadium, which is expected to be modelled along the same lines of Mandava, is scheduled to be completed by mid-July but work has been stalled by the challenges being faced by the Ministry of Local Government in coming up with the drawings.

“This is the fourth meeting we have had but, seriously speaking, I don’t have something to suggest progress, despite that this is the fourth meeting,” said Prof Moyo.

“I don’t have something in front of me, anything I can say wow, we have moved from that point to this point.

“When you are put in that kind (of position) it’s an invidious position because given the task anyone would have thought by now considerable progress would have been made.

“I would have thought that by now we were getting some feed-back on the approval and we were just talking about the costs and the fund-raising.

“So, we have lost ground and we need to regain. There is no obvious reason why other than communication breakdown.”

Besides hailing from Tsholotsho, Prof Moyo said it was his obligation, as part of the national leadership, to support development in marginalised communities.

“I don’t know if anyone from Tsholotsho is not interested and the fact that I come from Tsholotsho is obvious. I cannot run away from that.

“I do come from Tsholotsho, I am a member of the community and each and every one of us has been touched in a very profound way that a community-based team, with absolutely no support, has made such an achievement.

“It starts in the Second Division, gets into First Division and before we discover what is going on they are in the Premier League.

“That is a kind of development which will jolt any normal person’s interest and take notice and, obviously, then you come to realise that they made an achievement which requires everyone’s involvement to be sustained.

“First and foremost, that’s a fact, I do come from Tsholotsho, and I am also part of the national leadership and this achievement is precisely what the Government would like to see across the country.”

He tasked the contractors to expedite their work on Tsholotsho Stadium to ensure the Premiership new-boys enjoy the comfort of home aantage in the second half of the season.

Prof Moyo said the newly-promoted Premiership side needs to enjoy the benefits of playing at home so they achieve their target of surviving relegation in their debut season.

He said the football club needed to be supported after making history as the first team from a rural set-up to qualify for the top-flight league football in post-independent Zimbabwe.

Tsholotsho will play their home games at White City in Bulawayo, which is more than 100km away from their home, until their home ground is complete.

Prof Moyo said it would be extremely disheartening, “worse than losing an election”, if Tsholotsho were to be relegated this season because they failed to play all their home games in their backyard.

“There is something about playing your home games at home. Tsholotsho needs that experience as well.”

“The worst thing that could happen to Tsholotsho is to get relegated because they have played all their games away from home.

“That would leave one with a sinking feeling worse than losing an election.

“When I was with the team in February they were realistic and I got the impression that they are people who know what they are doing.

“The most important objective for them is to remain in the Premiership and there is no doubt that everyone will be very impressed should that happen.”

The construction of the stadium is expected to come at a cost of between $3m and $5m and Prof Moyo said the figure was justified as it was all about celebrating history by the rural team and also to encourage success from teams in similar backgrounds.

Tsholotsho will play their first Premiership match today when they set the stage alight for the season against Harare City at Rufaro.

“We all understand that this not a small achievement. It’s not every day that a football club in a rural community qualifies for the Premier Soccer League,” said Prof Moyo.

“They are in the Premier League. Facilities for the league don’t come cheap. They can’t have that and enjoy without the requisite facilities and, to have those means, we must mobilise the resources.

“It’s not by accident that we have had successful teams in the communities that have notable economic activities such as mining, Zisco Steel, FC Platinum, Mhangura.

“For the spirit that the team demonstrated by getting this achievement, we are now also called to make sure that this happens.

“And, as far as we are concerned, we are aware that the season starts tomorrow (today) and we wish them very well. We will work very hard to try and make this happen, the stadium that is, in order to encourage them.

“But it’s not their performance (this season) which justifies the stadium. It’s their previous performance, it’s their qualification.

“The fact that they are in the Premier League makes this necessary regardless of what happens.

“They qualified under the most difficult conditions to deserve a proper stadium.

“So it’s for the effort and their commitment. We definitely hope that their performance on the field of play will be very good. But they have made their contributions and it’s now for us to make ours.”

Tsholotsho qualified into the Premiership on a ticket from the Zifa Southern Region Division One League but their home ground did not meet the required standards for top-flight football.

Source : The Herald