Ray Bande Senior Sports Reporter
CASTLE Lager Premiership returnees Mutare City Rovers have finally come out of their shell to declare that they are more than ready for the 2018 season.
Just like in 2016 when they were eventually relegated, Mutare City Rovers will be the only representatives for Manicaland province in the 2018 Castle Lager Premiership season.
Gusha Bhora, as City Rovers are fondly referred to, are now rushing against time to renovate Sakubva Stadium and the municipality owned outfit believes they are on track to meet the demands made by the top flight league authorities to renovate the stadium.
Mutare City Rovers took heed of the warning to renovate the stadium and works are already underway to ensure that the venue is meets the required standards before the season commences.
The meagre $150 000 budget allocated to the team by the local authority has not left them in panic mode as they have lined up a number of initiatives starting with a fundraising dinner to be held today (Friday) at Holiday Inn.
The event starts at 6pm.
“Following the promotion of Mutare City Rovers into the top flight football league in the country, the club executive is hereby inviting you and officials from your organisation to come celebrate and meet the face of Manicaland in the PSL 2018.
“The celebratory function will run concurrently with a fundraising dinner scheduled for March 2 (today) at Holiday Inn in Mutare. We humbly request your presence and support on such a momentous occasion for the club as we parade the players and the technical team,” reads part of the invitation letter that Mutare City Rovers are sending to stakeholders in the city and beyond.
Mutare City Rovers were on the verge of finding themselves searching for an alternative home ground when the 2018 top flight league season commences in a fortnight after the Zifa club licensing arm, First Instance Body (FIB), inspected Sakubva stadium recently and warned that the match venue does not meet the minimum required standards to host Premiership matches.
Mutare City Rovers are ironically owned by Mutare City Council – the custodians of Sakubva Stadium.
FIB was on a whirlwind tour across the country to inspect match venues and other aspects of the Fifa Club Licensing System ahead of the start of the 2018 Castle Lager Premiership season.
But Mutare City Rovers spokesperson Edison Kalulu maintained that the local authority will meet the set deadlines.
Kalulu confirmed that the local authority has since stopped the hosting of any friendly matches and other functions at Sakubva Stadium until the renovations are complete.
He said the local authority had begun the process of rectifying the areas of concern that were registered.
“We are confident that we will meet the requirement and ensure that our team uses Sakubva as home ground. The pending tasks can be easily achieved, although the entire process is financially driven, we are confident that we shall accomplish the task. We have since stopped hosting of any friendly matches and other functions at Sakubva stadium until the renovations are complete.
“As evidence of our seriousness towards this project, we have instructed all employees who were working on other city council projects to report for duty at Sakubva Stadium and concentrate on meeting the deadlines set by PSL.
“We are mindful that Manicaland people have been starved of Premier League treat and we don’t want to disadvantage our province by simply failing to renovate the stadium. Renovations of Sakubva stadium is part of our top priority. We implore Manicaland at large to support our flagship team,’’ he said.