Government through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has thrown the local premiership into a crisis after notifying the Premier Soccer League (PSL) of its decision to close the National Sports Stadium in preparation for the hyped Pastor Chris Oyakhilome visit on May 7 and another unspecified event.
The 65,000 seater stadium is home to five premiership teams in the topflight as Rufaro Stadium undergoes renovations.
In a letter dated 25 April 2017, the ministry communicated that the venue had already been booked and will not be available up to an unspecified period.
PSL chief executive officer, Kenny Ndebele however expressed his displeasure.
“We are disappointed that you have taken a decision to deny us use of the National Sports Stadium for the weekend 29 April to 01 May 2017.
“You are aware that the National Sports Stadium is currently the home stadium of five (5) Premier Soccer League clubs, namely Black Rhinos FC; CAPS United FC; Dynamos FC; Harare City FC and Yadah FC.
“The said clubs will not be able to play home matches for two consecutive weeks. This will certainly disrupt our League programme and affect all the 18 PSL Clubs,” said Ndebele.
Ndebele pleaded with the ministry to revise its stance as it will heavily affect the local premiership and Confederation of African Football (CAF) champions league matches scheduled to be played in the capital later on in May.
“The backlog of Castle Lager fixtures will also affect the registration of Clubs representing Zimbabwe for the 2018 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Inter- competition as we are likely to miss the registration deadline.
“We hereby appeal to you to reconsider your decision, and allow us to use the National Sports Stadium on 29/30 April 2017 and 01 May 2017 as this will not directly affect the church crusade activities scheduled for 07 May 2017,” read the letter.
Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has jumped on board to pressure the ministry of local governance to reverse its decision.
Popular televangelist, Pastor Chris is expected in the country next week. – Matchday Zimbabwe