IT can take just six weeks to refurbish Barbourfields Stadium to meet the Confederation of African Football requirements for the facility to stage international matches, a construction industry expert has said.
The country woke up to shocking news earlier in the week that Barbourfields, the only stadium in the country provisionally approved to stage international games, had been stripped of the rights.
Caf cited a long “charge sheet” of requirements that the stadium must meet in order to be the venue of the first Warriors game of the year against Algeria next month.
A construction industry expert believes the stadium can be ready to meet the Caf requirements in just six weeks if a competent company is hired to do the work and, of course, availed all the resources to meet the deadline.
“The bulk of the requirements are not infrastructural, which means it doesn’t take much time and substantial amounts of money to get the work done.
“The infrastructural issues are very few but from that list of requirements that I saw, it’s a case of improving what is already there, for instance making improvements in the toilets and the dressing rooms.
“I observed that the list of requirements also includes signages but that is insignificant in terms of costs and there is nothing out of this world that should give a contracted company headaches in meeting deadlines.
“I can’t give you specific figures of how much it would cost but I believe it’s a matter of paying attention to detail in order to satisfy the relevant authorities,” said Obert Sibanda.
Sibanda is the former chairman of the Zimbabwe Building Contractors’ Association and proprietor of Reliance Construction Company.
Reliance Construction was involved in the upgrade of the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport.
“Because a lot of the requirements involve refurbishing what is already there, it’s just a matter of buying the materials and fixing so the works should take six weeks to complete,” added Sibanda.
There was a last-minute scramble last Wednesday afternoon by Zifa and Bulawayo City Council officials to get the Barbourfields ban lifted.
The officials held a four-hour meeting in Bulawayo to try and find solutions to the ban that has ruffled feathers, especially within the Bulawayo football community that has been looking forward to watching the Warriors in action in over 15 years.
Zifa spokesman Xolisani Gwesela expressed hope that the ban could be reversed following yesterday’s meeting with BCC.
“We are delighted by the commitment and maximum co-operation from the City of Bulawayo. They presented to the meeting areas which they are committed to addressing in the immediate future and those that can be long-term projects like the structural and architectural things.
“Their commitment has given us hope that this decision might be reversed, but we need a letter of that commitment from them. However, I must hasten to say that this is no longer a Zifa or City of Bulawayo baby, but every patriotic Zimbabwean, including Central Government,” said Gwesela.