The workers would run with bins full of water which they would empty near the touchline as they tried to make the pitch, which resembled a vlei after a heavy down fall, playable.
Their desperate actions left more questions than answers on many supporters’ minds who wondered if this was a result of the shoddy job done by the Chinese who carried the stadium renovations that chewed close to US$8 million.
The renovations lasted about 20 months. However, the Ministry of Public Works who supervised the renovations at the National Sports Stadium have said there is nothing wrong with the giant stadium’s drainage system.
Joseph Mhakayakora, the principal director in the ministry said the stadium’s drainage system is up to international standards. “Our drainage system is world class. The international drainage standard the world over is at nine centimetres an hour and the National Sports Stadium stands at 10 centimetres per hour which is just a minute difference.
“The organisers of the tournament should have waited for at least 20 to 30 minutes and the water was going to be drained through the normal system. Even at cricket matches, they give time for the drainage system to work.
“I panicked when I saw those pictures on television only to be told by our engineers that there is nothing wrong with the stadium,” he said. Mhakayakora added that he has a lot of confidence in Zimbabwe Jiangsu, a Chinese company that renovated the stadium.
“There is a general misconception that Zimbabwe government financed the renovation of the stadium. This is not the case as we are using a grant from the Chinese government. We are happy with the final product that we have,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Tendai Chiwanza, who was the project engineer when the stadium was renovated in 2006.