THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) has never been a welcoming home for newly-promoted teams.
In fact, 80% of the teams that enter the league find themselves gravitating back to where they came from due to lack of financial muscle and or professional administration, they find themselves playing home away from home.
But for the Mhondoro-based newcomers — Ngezi Platinum FC — it appears the sky is the limit in as far as financial and administrative matters are concerned.
The club’s chairman Jeremiah Gaistene told B-Metro Sport their newly built Baobab Stadium will be able to host local elite football league matches when the 2016 season commences on 2 April.
“When the season starts we are confident that our stadium will be able to host PSL matches. The construction of the first phase of the stadium which will see the stadium have a carrying capacity of 5 000 spectators should be done.
Our dressing rooms are ready and so is the VIP section that has a carrying capacity of 300 people. Our dressing rooms are ideal as they can accommodate more than 25 people,” said Gaistene.
They expect a big stadium that will have a financially viable capacity.
“After a review we are going to have construction of the second phase which will see the stadium have a carrying capacity of 15 000. However, I’m not yet sure when we are going to have a review and when the construction of the second phase is going to start,” he added.
It appears like the Zimplats-backed team is borrowing from free spending FC Platinum who in 2011 stormed into the PSL with verve after winning the Central Region promotion ticket into the top flight league the previous year.
The platinum miners acquired all the best players in the country and assembled a grinding machine that mercilessly cruised for the trophy, only to lose the championship on the last day to eventual winners Dynamos.
One season down the line, the club had refurbished Mandava Stadium , their homeground, and turned it into one of the magnificent football facilities in the country.
Now, Ngezi Platinum FC appear to have borrowed a similar blueprint, signing 17 players to build a formidable squad ahead of their maiden season in the top-flight league. And likewise, they are constructing a 10 000 to 15 000-seater stadium.
Ideal stadia should accommodate 5 000 people, have a first aid room, covered VIP area, anti doping room, playable surface with a good drainage system , aluminum goal posts, adequate parking facility and dressing rooms that can accommodate 25 people.
With Ngezi Platinum FC reporting on their stadium construction good progress, concerns have been raised about Barbourfields Stadium.
While the stadium is not banned to host PSL matches as might have been perceived, the home team dugout is reportedly not in its proper place.
There might be a need to move it a few meters to the right.
There are also fears on the drainage system and wanting dressing rooms at Gweru’s Ascot Stadium home to Chapungu.
Ascot and Sakubva Stadium home of other PSL newcomers Mutare City are said to be in an atrocious state.
Over the years, Sakubva, which has had some renovations but come January, it always faces challenges in getting approval by PSL, though some last-minute boardroom decisions would see the venue somehow being allowed to host PSL matches, while Ascot Stadium became a matter of concern two seasons ago when it hosted cup matches with the goal nets having a number of torn patches.
Beitbridge-based Border Strikers are expected to use Dulibadzimu Stadium as their home ground where terraces and a VIP stand were under construction.
Beitbridge Town Council undertook to upgrade the stadia to meet minimum FIFA dictates of a sitting capacity of 5 000 and the standard measurement of a pitch including a waist high fence around the playing field.
However, Beitbridge Town Council clerk Loud Ramakgopola could not shed light on the progress of renovations at Dulibadzimu Stadium.
“This is a difficult question. I’m not in the right frame of mind. Call me later,” he said.
Last year, the Beitbdrige Town Council approved $40 000 for renovation of the stadium.