Story by Tafara Chikumira
The Gweru community is excited at the prospect of watching premier soccer league matches in the City of Progress after Bata Stadium was approved to host top-flight games, starting with the encounter between Sheasham and Highlanders this Saturday.
The match venue has been refurbished by new boys Sheasham, who are set to enjoy the fruits of their labour when they host Bulawayo giants Highlanders this Saturday.
The stadium has undergone a massive overhaul with the turf looking splash green while the VIP enclosure and dressing rooms have also been refurbished to meet the required standards.
The constructors are now finalising the construction of restaurants at the VIP enclosure, among other additional elements.
Sheasham have been using Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane for their home matches and the approval of Bata Stadium has been met with excitement.
“It’s a dream come true for the football lovers in Gweru. It has always been taxing to travel all the way to Zvishavane for home matches where it was said we are playing at home far from home,” said Sheasham FC chairman, Mr Reginald Chidawanyika.
“We were incurring more by hosting home matches than we have been losing when playing away. The stadium needed to be paid for while the travelling came at a cost. We have been relieved in a big way by this decision by PSL which will certainly have a positive impact on the team.”
The news has also come as sweet music to the ears of the Construction Boys’ fans who have promised to turn out in their numbers.
“We are happy that we can now watch our boys in action in our own town. We have been following the team to Zvishavane but that was not sustainable at all. As you can see, we are so in love with our team that we have even come here to see them train so that we give them support,” said a delighted fan.
“We are ready to support the boys to achieve their dream. I am confident that we will start winning most games we were drawing using a proper home advantage. It’s football and we are new boys but am happy the boys are living up to their billing,” noted another supporter.
“We are celebrating as the people of Gweru. This is huge and we are very happy about this development. Can’t wait for Sunday so that we come to the stadium and support our lovely boys. It’s time for Gweru as we rally behind the boys,” noted a pleased Gweru resident.
“The Lord answers people’s prayers. Today it’s ours and please congratulate us. It’s the Lord’s mercy which has seen us reach this far. We say Ebenezer as we march into the weekend assured that we will see our team in action at home,” another fan said.
Sheasham are 13th on the PSL log table with 8 points after one win, five draws and a loss in seven matches.
Meanwhile, the Hwange community is also excited after it emerged that their favourite team will be playing at the Colliery Stadium after the football venue was approved to host topflight matches.
It has been six years since Hwange hosted PSL matches at the Colliery Stadium and they will be hoping to turn it into a fortress once again.