Football lovers and the general populace alike have called upon authorities at Kwekwe city council to give the greenlight to an investor who wanted to construct a soccer stadium proxy to the central business district the chance to go ahead with his plans after council initially blocked him from doing so, Zwnews Sports exclusively reveals.
Last year, prominent miner Shepherd ‘Magodora’ Chahwanda, who was bankrolling a lower-tier soccer team, Hardrock FC, was left a frustrated man after authorities at Town House blocked him from converting land belonging to a mining company he runs into a football stadium under unclear circumstances.
Amid the frustration, Magodora ended up disbanding the then moneyed Hardrock FC and subsequently put on ice plans to construct the stadium.
“The land actually belongs to Gold Metal Investiments and as part of our social responsibility initiatives, we’d decided to build a sports club and a football stadium around that area. The area falls under the jurisdiction of Kwekwe City Council but our application for the conversion of the land into a sports facility did not get a favourable response from council,” Magodora told this reporter.
In a recent interview, Town Clerk Dr Lucia Mkandla professed ignorance over the matter and authorities at the local authority have apparently been stingy with details surrounding the alleged deadlock.
Speaking to this publication, soccer lovers from Kwekwe labelled the city fathers as scapegoats to the fading prospects of the return of premiership football in the town since the demise of then PSL side, Lancashire Steel, over a decade ago.
“We are really shocked that in their wisdom, or is it lack of it, the authorities at the city council decided to block an investor who wanted to enhance infrastructural development in the area,” chairperson of the Combined Kwekwe Residents and Ratepayers Association, Robert Nhari told Zwnews in a recent interview.
“I believe that the urge to develop infrastructure must be at the centre of any progressive local authority and we are actually surprised that the powers that be decided to halt Mr Chahwanda’s intentions to construct a stadium that was going to take our youths off the streets and reduce crime and drug abuse. Council’s actions are quite puzzling especially in cognisance of the fact that this town has been lagging behind in terms of recreational facilities”, he said.
Former Lancashire Steel and Hwange FC defender Simbarashe Jongwe said the city council has an obligation to ensure the return of premiership football to the Midlands mining town.
“The construction of a soccer stadium was definitely going to help in the pursuit of talent identification and I see no reason why Kwekwe city council decided to stop him (Chahwanda)”, said Jongwe who is now based in neighboring South Africa.
Kwekwe-born soccer fan Blessing Sithole also echoed the same sentiments.
“This council is full of be-suited personalities who have a penchant for sleeping while on duty,” Sithole said.
“Instead of working on alternatives that are bound to attract investiment in the city, it is quite ironic that they’re shunning investiment and infrastructural development”, he said.
Over the years, and following the fall of the Chimbi-chimbi Boys, as Lancashire Steel were affectionately called, locals from the soccer-crazy Midlands mining town have been itching for the return of premier soccer league action- now a far-fetched dream.