Raymond Jaravaza/Mbongeni Ncube
TWO generators are lying idle at Barbourfields and White City stadiums in Bulawayo, forcing football teams that require training under floodlights to turn to power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) who in turn charge exorbitant rates.
Chicken Inn Football Club were this week forced to abandon training under floodlights for their players to acclimatise to playing at night ahead of a crunch match against South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday.
The club was charged a deposit of $4 000 per hour by the local authority translating to $12 000 for about three hours training per day.
The club abandoned the plans.
It has, however, emerged the team could have trained at Barbourfields at night at fairly reasonable rates had the generators that were handed over to the Bulawayo City Council as part of the African Union Sports Council Region 5
Under-20 Youth Games legacy been connected.
The generator at Barbourfields is situated under the Soweto Stand.
A city council engineer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the company contracted to connect the two generators had not completed work as a result of non-payment.
“The city council has not been officially handed over the two generators because both have not been connected. The contractor abandoned work because of non-payment. It should also be noted that it is Zesa and not the city council who calculate the amount of electricity used when an event is held at Barbourfields and White City at night,” he said.
There are also plans for the lights at Barbourfields to be replaced with energy saving panels and according to the engineer such a project would cost the municipality $70 000 to complete.
“Over the years the only functions that have been held at Barbourfields are usually Government events. Football teams find the cost of training at night very prohibitive. The city council has proposed to replace the current floodlights with energy saving panels and our engineers have put the figure at around $70 000,” he added.
Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane said Government would look into the issue so that all facilities left after the games are fully utilised.
Chicken Inn were on Thursday expected to train at Lucas Moripe Stadium, the venue of the crunch tie, at 7.30pm for the players to have a feel of what it is like to play at night.
Another training session under floodlights was expected on Friday.
Chicken Inn board member Tavengwa Hara was not readily available to give details on whether the team was charged to train at night in Pretoria.
Bulawayo City Council spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu asked B-Metro Sport to e-mail questions when this publication sought to get a comment on why the two generators had not been connected at Barbourfields and White City Stadium.
She had not responded to questions at the time of going of going to print.