HomeSportHeart Stadium impresses

Heart Stadium impresses

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By Kundai Marunya

A LUSH green turf that looks too good to be natural, first of a kind trendy ‘dug-in’ dug-outs, modern VIP enclosure, corporate boxes and an internationally recommended suspended pitch, what more could one ask for!

Welcome to the new Heart Stadium built by the soccer fanatic, Premier Soccer League team owner and prophet, Walter Magaya.

Built on CAF design specifications, the 5 000-seater Heart Stadium, with luxurious dressing rooms that can stand hand-to-toe with those at clubs abroad, has brought some hope and smile to football fanatics who have not enjoyed international soccer on home grounds as they have been condemned as unfit to host international matches.

Built on CAF design specifications, the 5 000 — seater Heart Stadium has dug outs that can stand hand-to-toe with those at clubs abroad.

The spacious dressing rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art 100-inch television sets and other modern electronic facilities.

Even the ablution facilities are impressive, classy and spacious, with a touch of gold.

Backed by the ambiance of an equally impressive Yadah Hotel, The Heart Stadium is a beauty whose existence was doubted by many, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa who had only seen it in picture before officially opening it on Sunday.

Addressing scores of people at the Yadah Complex in Waterfalls, among them Prophetic Healing and Deliverance(PHD) ministries congregants, foreign dignitaries, sports stakeholders, business people, premier league bosses, coaches, players and top Government officials, after a tour of the facility, President Mnangagwa confessed he had not expected the stadium to match the photographs and plans of the project.

 “I must highlight that, when Prophet Magaya came to see me at State House to invite me to open this facility, I asked him twice to check if what I was seeing in the pictures was really on the ground,” said President Mnangagwa.

 “Having toured the infrastructure, I am truly impressed. Well done, you did a great job! Therefore, I extend my hearty congratulations to the founder of Prophetic, Healing and Deliverance Ministries, Prophet Walter Magaya, together with the congregants of the Church for completing this impressive facility.

“Many people, including me, until today, did not know that we had such impressive infrastructure here in Waterfalls.”

The Heart Stadium comes at a time when the country does not have a single football facility suitable for hosting an international match.

Many contend that this facility is miles ahead of the Rwanda Stadium where the Zimbabwe national soccer team, the Warriors, played their home game against Nigeria.

Football stadia, largely under the purview of opposition-controlled councils,  have lagged behind due to lack of renovations, thus failing to match the ever improving international standards.

The city councils, led by seemingly clueless members from MDC, which has morphed into CCC since the turn of the millennia, have let the country’s stadia deteriorate to deplorable levels.

This has resulted in the country being banned from hosting international matches which resulted in the men’s national football team playing a World Cup Qualifier home match against Nigeria in Rwanda.

At the moment, Harare only has the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC)’s National Sports Stadium suitable to host the local Premier League matches while Rufaro and Gwanzura Stadiums are yet to complete meaningful renovations, over a year since City of Harare refused a multi-million corporate rescue package, insisting they would conduct renovations on their own.

 For instance, at the iconic home of football, Rufaro Stadium, city fathers have not carried out meaningful work with supposed renovations lacking the urgency they require.

Construction at the Heart Stadium only began in August, and the first phase with 5 000 seats is already complete while the capacity is set to go up to 10 000 by February of next year, to coincide with the beginning of the local league.

Ten thousand seats are a minimum requirement for international matches, however the Heart Stadium is expected to have a capacity of 20 000 seats once complete, to make it a suitable home ground for both the Warriors and Premier League champions Ngezi Platinum Stars and Chibuku Super Cup winners Dynamos who are billed to play CAF matches next year.

Prophet Magaya has already availed the stadium to both teams.

President Mnangagwa hailed Prophet Magaya for heeding the call to contribute towards building the envisioned Zimbabwe of an upper-middle income economy.

“We have people here in Zimbabwe, who always fulfil our philosophy: ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’,” he said.

“Hence, through this facility, the Prophetic, Healing and Deliverance Ministries, which started in 2012 with only 45 worshippers, has appropriately started blending aspects of spiritual and physical needs for communities.”

Many churches in the country confine themselves to spiritualism while those that deviate to work in community development at times end up attacking the Government, working as emissaries of foreign interests.

PHD stands as one of the indigenous churches that complement the Government in areas of business and development.

President Mnangagwa challenged the private sector and citizens to work in line with his vision as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) to transform the nation.

“In this particular instance, sports development must never be the responsibility of the central Government alone,” he said.

“I further challenge more of our citizens, sports-persons and private sector players to take up opportunities in the sector towards developing modern sporting facilities. It is praiseworthy that this Stadium was constructed in keeping with the international best practices, including guidelines of Confederation of African Football and the Federation of International Football.

“It is my expectation that this Heart Stadium hosts high level sporting events. Modern sporting infrastructure goes a long way in enhancing the quality and standards of our sporting disciplines and ultimately the performance of our national teams.”

Minister of Youth Sport Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry shared the President’s excitement on the existence of a world class facility, offering suggestions for multi-purpose use, developing talent in the process.

“I want to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the architects, engineers and construction teams who have worked tirelessly to bring this vision to life. Their expertise and dedication has created a world class facility which will not only provide a home for our athletes but also host national and international events,” she said.

“I envision this facility to be good not only for sport but also cultural exchanges, concerts and a place for young people to converge and learn new skills that would further enrich their lives”.

The Sports Minister urged other players to emulate Prophet Magaya’s efforts.

“I encourage other private players to emulate such efforts in constructing world-class facilities which will attract foreign players and hence boost investments.

“I’m confident that this facility will play a pivotal role in driving economic growth and in enhancing our regional competitiveness,” she said.

Sporting activities come with many benefits to the economy, trickling down to informal traders who benefit from sales at large gatherings and having a number of world-class facilities means much more economic activities.

Sport and Recreation Commission chairman Gerald Mlotshwa urged stakeholders to further develop sporting infrastructure.

“To Prophet Magaya and Amai Magaya, thank you for pioneering this clarion call for investment in sports infrastructure. You have set the pace; it is our expectation that more will follow. This is a well thought out addition to our existing stadiums. I urge you to continue in this trajectory,” Mlotshwa said.

Though mega and futuristic, the development is not enough for Prophet Magaya who boldly claimed that this was just the beginning of work to be done in different cities, to enable the country to catch up with regional and international developments.

Magaya admitted that the peaceful and enabling working environment created by the Second Republic under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa is conducive to think and act big.

“Your Excellency, when the environment is created as you have done, we will perform,” he said.

 “We are in the process of approaching different city councils, looking first at Chitungwiza where I come from. I wish with your blessing to extend that construction there…and different areas.

 “With your blessing, provided with enough space even in the area of our new city, we want to also put our landmark there as a ministry because we have good partners within the Ministry we have been working with.”

 The construction was fully funded by locals, a development lauded by President Mnangagwa.

 Those with no financial muscle also contributed their time and effort in aiding construction professionals.

 “We hired the technocrats to come and work with us but I want to tell you that my congregants came in thousands every day to assist with the laborious work, voluntarily, pushing the vision: ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/Ilizwe liyakhwa ngabanikazi’,” said Prophet Magaya.

 “In the Second Republic…I feel we can thrive way more than we have thrived right now.”

Prophet Magaya has opened up the stadium to all interested parties so that it may serve a greater purpose than just being home ground to his football club Yadah Stars.

 “This is a project that I started with passion. It is not a ground for my own use or for use by Yadah Stars. It is for this country and football. I love this game with all my heart hence developments such as this.

 “I know Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum Stars are going to represent the country in the African club competitions next year,” he said.

“These are our teams and we can’t have them play their home matches away from home.We will expand this stadium to a 10 000-seater by February next year and we hope to host the national teams.”

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