FINANCIAL constraints have forced Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) to shelve its ambitious project of building a multi-purpose cricket stadium in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
ZC chairman Tawengwa Mukuhlani said the project would only be pursued once they get partners to assist financially.
ZC first undertook to build the country’s third Test ground in 2011, with a view of complementing the Harare Sports Club and Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo after the Victoria Falls Town Council had granted planning approval for a stadium near the iconic waterfalls.
Mukuhlani told Chronicle Sport that construction of the stadium was not part of his board’s priorities.
“There’s nothing on the cards with regards to the Victoria Falls stadium. As ZC, we don’t have finances to pursue that project. We’re going through a lean period in terms of finances. Unless we get partners, I don’t see ourselves embarking on that project anytime soon,” said Mukuhlani.
His predecessor, Wilson Manase, had in 2014 given the impression that they had laid some groundwork to source funding for the construction.
“We cannot divulge many details on where exactly the funds will come from at this stage, but we are hoping to get some help from sponsors and other partners. This is a big project that will help our game grow and we can spread it to other parts of the country. We have major sporting events happening here like the marathon and we have had sevens rugby here so we want to have cricket in this town. With so many tourists frequenting the area, we can also sell our game,” Manase said then.
The proposed stadium was going to have a seating capacity of 12 000 and architects had presented a plan, which included a clubhouse.
Former ZC chief executive officer Ozias Bvute said the Victoria Falls stadium was going to promote sport tourism, while ex-chairman of selectors Alistair Campbell said the venue would become an alternative to international tournaments that are held in Dubai.
A ground breaking ceremony was held at the site just off Pioneer Road in Victoria Falls’ industrial site between the railway line and Chinotimba suburb in October 2014, but nothing went beyond the event. Mukuhlani’s comments suggest the ZC Victoria Falls cricket ground dream has been reduced to a heap of its ambitions.
Victoria Falls has, however, been earmarked to host an International Cricket Council meeting in 2022.
Source: ZC shelves ambitious Vic Falls stadium plan (20/10/16)