Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter
PLANS are under way to refurbish Highlanders Football Club’s house in Luveve suburb and turn it into a facility akin to the Zifa Village in Harare, a senior club official has said.
The Luveve house, known to the Highlanders supporters as Hotel California, was acquired in 1985 with the aim of providing a camping facility for the team ahead of matches but the place has over the years been neglected.
It was recently spruced up and is now housing Highlanders’ newly acquired players who are also given free food during their entire stay there until they find their own accomodation.
“We’ve always had plans to extend that place, improve it along the lines of the Zifa Village because there’s plenty of space there,” said the Highlanders chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede.
He said the club is committed to making the facility more habitable than it is now.
“Hotel California must and will be a better hotel than it is now. It must be able to accommodate 30 players during camp and even to a situation where senior players and captains can have their own rooms. We also need a small auditorium there,” said Gumede.
He said when the place was acquired it freed the club from camping expenses at a hotel and revamping it to acceptable camping standards will go a long way in assisting the club reduce some of its costs.
“Camping at a hotel these days will cost you about $150 per person and if you multiply that by 30 persons it becomes a huge figure but if we’re to camp there (Hotel California) $100 can take care of the whole delegation’s meals,” said Gumede.
The Bulawayo giants are this year expected to gobble at least $81,000 in camping expenses for their 18 local games, a shocking figure compared to about $2,000 they would have used had they camped at Hotel California.
The Chronicle Sport is reliably informed that the late James Mangwana Tshuma-led executive had mooted plans to extend the place with a senior executive in the Bulawayo City Council’s department of housing and community services drawing up a plan for the whole job. The plan also included a swimming pool along with the extension of the house.
A visit by the Sport news crew yesterday showed that a large portion of the land has been turned into a maize field.