RESIDENTS of Chitungwiza will have to wait a little longer to watch Premiership football on their doorstep after the deal for newboys Yadah Stars to use Chibuku as their home ground for this season collapsed.
The Chitungwiza residents have been for years waiting for the return of Premiership football to their town and hopes were raised when Yadah Stars said they would use Chibuku as their home ground.
But The Herald revealed that the proposed deal, which would have seen Yadah Stars renovate the stadium into what the club owner Prophet Walter Magaya would be a state-of-the-art facility, has collapsed.
Apparently, Magaya, who was ready to throw hundreds of his construction workers on site to renovate the stadium, was unhappy with the deal offered by the Chitungwiza Town Council officials.
The Chitungwiza Town Council officials were not ready to give Yadah Stars a longer lease, which they wanted given the investment they were pumping into a stadium that has suffered severe neglect over the years and the prophet decided to look elsewhere.
"It's now very likely that we are going to use Gwanzura as our home ground for this season," Magaya told The Herald.
"The terms of agreement that we were seeking was not what the Chitungwiza officials were prepared to offer us and given the investment that we had earmarked for the stadium, we felt that we were not being given a fair deal.
"We were ready to invest a lot into the stadium's facelift and, for me, personally, it would have been a good homecoming because I'm from Chitungwiza and I have always had this special attachment with the town.
"I went to high school which is just a stone's throw from the stadium and we used to play at Chibuku and it was our home and therefore, renovating it was just something I have always felt I should do.
"But, it's a two-way process and one also needs to look into issues like what those who own the stadium are giving in return and that was the sticking point and that is why we are likely to take our investment to Gwanzura.
"When you look at the state of Gwanzura and Chibuku, we will spend a lot less at Gwanzura and, for now, that is set to be our home ground from where we will be launching our campaign to be champions."
The Herald understands, the Chitungwiza Town officials were only prepared to offer Magaya a three-year lease despite Yadah Stars arguing that their massive investment meant they needed a longer deal.
Yadah Stars were also required to pay a monthly fee, to the council, even though they would have revamped the stadium and turn it into a state-of-the-art facility.
"It's sad that what would have been a major investment into Chitungwiza has fallen through because, along the way, some people didn't see the value of what was being invested into a facility that has been decaying for years," sources said.
"But what has been Chitungwiza's loss could be Harare's gain and Gwanzura could undergo a massive facelift in the next few weeks."
Yadah Stars also have their own stadium in Waterfalls, but given the complex now also hosts a hotel, they believe the club's activities should not interfere with the ministry's activities and that is why they want to play their matches elsewhere.
The club looks set to give former FC Platinum forwards, Tarisai Rukanda and Wellington Kamudyariwa, a new home.
- the herald