CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League returnees Hwange say they are leaving no stone unturned in getting their home, Colliery Stadium, fit for topflight football weeks after the country’s Caf trained stadium experts completed preliminary stadium inspections in preparation for the 2023 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season kick-off.
The 2023 season is set to start on 18 March and according to preliminary inspections, Colliery Stadium, was one of the four topflight facilities that need urgent renovations to get the green light to play host to PSL matches.
“The preliminary round of inspection was done on our facility.
The experts that did the inspection left some notes that we are thoroughly working on. We are working on the Colliery Stadium renovations with the help of our parent company Hwange Colliery Limited. As such we expect to fully pass the next round of inspection,” said Hwange Football Club administrator Khumbulani Mbano.
Premier Soccer League spokesperson Kudzai Bare revealed on Tuesday that in the meantime Gweru’s Ascot Stadium and Rusape-based Vengere Stadium will not be able to hold topflight league matches.
“The 2023 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season is set to commence on Saturday 18 March 2023. Please be advised that Ascot Stadium and Vengere Stadium have failed to meet the minimum stadium requirements as set by the Zifa Club Licensing First Instance Body. The stadia will not host PSL matches until the necessary requirements are met,” she said.
Sheasham are making major renovations at Bata Grounds. They are reportedly working on installing bucket seats in the VIP section as well as putting up a shade. Another Premiership debutant Simba Bhora are also working on giving their Shamva ground a facelift. Green Fuel FC of Chisumbanje are said to be upgrading their home ground.
Rufaro Stadium, which was shut down in 2019 after being condemned for being unfit to host PSL matches due to an uneven turf, poor drainage and ablution facilities is reportedly being attended to and could be available by the time the season starts.
Meanwhile, with the Zifa first transfer window scheduled to close on 31 March the coal miners have revealed their squad was now ready to do duty in the country’s elite football league.
“With the transfer window set to close on 31 March, I can confirm that we are done with regards to our player recruitment exercise. We now have a full squad of 25 senior players and five junior players. We are now ready to compete,” said Mbano.
He said although they will be without the services of their former captain Felix “SaNicky” Chindungwe who has since retired to assume the role of kit manager at the club, they are happy that they still have gritty midfielder Thabani Goredema, pacy and skilful winger Canaan Nkomo and impressive striker Ernest Gwitima.
The club also signed COPA Coca-Cola product Tendai “Shumba” Muvuti, a 19- year-old former Mpopoma High School pupil who shone at the schools’ football competition in 2019.
Last year, Muvuti, who has already featured in Chipangano’s pre-season friendly matches, was in the books of Bulawayo Chiefs where he was not given game time.
The young attacking midfielder joined Chipangano as one of the junior players together with the club’s junior team graduates Attitude Munsaka, Quinton Longwei and Proud Anesu Richard. The club also roped in Claivert Tshuma who previously turned out for Dynamos.
Chipangano were relegated from the top league in 2019 and the former Highlanders’ coach started their Zifa Southern Region Division One journey with them at the beginning of the year before he jumped ship to assist former Warriors’ skipper Benjani Mwaruwari at Ngezi Platinum Stars in March.
Hwange FC president, who is also managing director at Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL), Blake Mhatiwa made a financial commitment for the club’s PSL campaign.