Anybody who last visited Turf Shopping Centre in Ngezi two months ago would be amazed by what they would find there today.
There is a new football stadium coming up at the once bushy area next to the old football ground.
Ngezi Platinum has sunk huge sums of money into the construction of the state-of-the-art stadium where they will host Premier Soccer League (PSL) games this season.
A visit to the site by Standardsport on Thursday showed that in the two months since work started, so much has been done — an idnication that there is little doubt the February 29 deadline for the handover of the stadium will be met. The stadium is expected to meet both PSL and Zifa stadium requirements.
From the look of it, at least 70% of the work has already been done. The site is a hive of activity with big earthmoving machines churning out plumes of smoke as they go about their business of putting this home of football in place. As one approaches the site, there is an expanse of cleared ground meant for a big car park.
The perimeter wall which is about two metres tall, is almost completed, while the inside perimeter fence is already available and ready to be pitched.
At the front entrance are cashier rooms which the contractors jokingly dubbed “toll gates”, where fans would pay to watch football. Spacious and clearly modern changing rooms are at the roof level, awaiting final touches.
The changing rooms have a VIP lounge, a media conference room, administration room, as well as officials’ rooms. This meets the standards required by the Confederation of African Football.
At the entrance of the changing rooms will be an underground tunnel that will lead into the field of play.
On the right side of the entrance are public toilets which are almost completed as well.
On the field of play, the green lawn that resembles the giant National Sports Stadium can be seen from afar — and the contractors say it will look even better when work is completed.
Three sides of the stadium have the risings and the grass is also doing well. The raising are sand-heaps surrounding the stadium that fans can sit on watching the match before grand stands are put in place.
Speaking at the site, project chief engineer Sam Ngara said they were sure they would meet the set deadline.
“We have been working here for only two months. This has been a thick bush, but look at what has been done so far. With the work that has been done here so far, I can see that we will be able to beat the February 29 deadline.
“The perimeter wall is almost done. We have not closed that end because we are using it as the entrance for people working here, so we can’t close it now,” Ngara said.
Speaking of the nice-looking green turf, the engineer said: “For anyone looking at this with a naked eye, one would think the turf is now ready, it’s not. These are grass patches that are given time to join underground. For players to roll the ball as it is now, it will be impossible. Give it a few weeks to grow and it will then be ready.”
Ngara stressed on the need for an all-weather pitch.
“This will be an all-weather pitch. The pitch has what we call sub-surface drainage system where we put trenches.There is sand and pipes that will run across the field collecting water in cases of rain for the purposes of quick drainage.
“For a start, the stadium will be built in two phases, with the first phase targeting 10 000 fans, but when it’s finished, it will be able to carry close to 15 000 people. That is when we will put terraces all-round the pitch.”
Ngezi Platinum vice-president Taka Maswiswi said they were sure to meet the PSL deadline and hopefully use the stadium in one or two warm-up matches.
“There is nothing disheartening like running away from your fans that have been behind you for all these years. Now that we are in the league, we say we are switching the venue because of inavailability of a stadium. No. We really care for our fans. They have to continue watching us play here.”