HARARE – This week, the Harare City Council provided the nation with an update on the progress of the new grass turf which is being laid at Rufaro Stadium.
According to the local authorities, the venue will be ready for re-opening in the second week of April.
Already, there was panic among the Harare-based football clubs like Harare City, Dynamos and CAPS United, Yadah FC and Black Rhinos.
If the Rufaro Stadium turf was going to take longer before it was playable, it was going to create chaos as all these teams would have been forced to share the National Sports Stadium or other alternative venues.
It’s quite depressing that in this day and age, local clubs still rely on Rufaro Stadium when in fact they could have constructed their own stadia.
Dynamos were formed in 1963, CAPS United in 1973 while Black Rhinos were established in 1983.
During that time, the Zimbabwean economy was still generally stable with the now extinct Zim dollar competing relatively well against the US dollar.
These clubs should have put in long-term plans and engaged the local authority to ensure they establish their own training facilities and stadia.
If a football team wants to progress, these are the basics needed to remain competitive.
A club needs its own training facilities where all their teams from the juniors right up to the first team use to prepare before matches.
Having your own stadium is the difference between making a profit and going bust.
When they were still playing at the 38 000-seater Highbury, Arsenal could not compete with other rich clubs in luring stars and paying them lucrative salaries.
However, all that changed once they moved to the more spacious Emirates Stadium which can accommodate 60 000 plus spectators.
The normally parsimonious Arsene Wenger is now more willing to spend big on signings and salaries as evidenced by the captures of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka.
In 2015 alone, the Gunners made at least £101,84 million from match day revenue at the Emirates.
This is the reason why Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs, Everton and Liverpool are exploring options of building new and bigger stadia.
This should be the mentality our own local clubs should have. They should also aspire to build their own facilities which ensure they generate match day revenue throughout the season.
As long as they rely on renting stadia from local authorities, they will always remain poor.