Barbourfields Stadium will be dull, lonely without fans

21 May, 2021 - 00:05 0 Views
Barbourfields Stadium will be dull, lonely without fans Barbourfields Stadium

The Chronicle

Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FOURTEEN months after the last competitive domestic football match was held at Barbourfields Stadium, action resumes tomorrow with the early kick-off encounter of the remodelled Chibuku Super Cup between Bulawayo City and Chicken Inn.

Barbourfields played host to the only competitive football match in 2020, the Castle Lager Challenge Cup clash between FC Platinum and Highlanders in March before the ban on all sporting activities was imposed due to Covid-19 outbreak.

Barbourfields Stadium will be home to Pool B made up of Bulawayo Chiefs, Bulawayo City, Chicken Inn and Highlanders in the Chibuku Super Cup.

Games will be played on a round robin basis, with two matches being played a day.

A sneak into Barbourfields Stadium showed that the owners Bulawayo City Council were gearing up for the return of the game, with a maintenance team putting final touches to the venue.

The lush green lawn was being watered by sprinklers and a local advertising company was busy working on touchline banners, replacing worn-out material.

BCC staff were also attending to media booths that have reportedly received a facelift in an effort to meet Caf requirements.

In April last year, Caf condemned Barbourfields Stadium and banned it from staging senior national men’s team matches.

Although Chronicle Sport could not access the dressing rooms, it was established that the local authority had installed additional water closets, ceilings, bench cushions, mirrors, tactical boards, steel lockers, desks and chairs, refrigerators, power points, Wi-Fi, signage and air conditioners that Caf recommended.

However, due to space constraints, council is finding it difficult to extend the dressing rooms.

According to Caf, Barbourfields Stadium needs considerable renovation works, ranging from the outer part of the venue to the dressing rooms.

Partitioning of the doping and medical rooms has been done. Tiling of all the rooms as well as installation of medical beds and fridges has also been done.

However, one of the biggest requirements, the mandatory installation of bucket seats, are still pending.

Despite that, domestic football venue inspectors felt it was adequate to host the country’s topflight games.

The only thing that will be missing when players step out onto the turf tomorrow and Sunday are the fans.

It will be a bit strange for the players to step out to the empty stares of the stands.

For Highlanders’ game against Bulawayo Chiefs on Sunday, Bosso players will find it hard to adjust playing to the echoes of their voices only.

No roars from Soweto Stand and the southern grandstand, popularly known as Empankweni that house die-hard Bosso fans in normal times.

It will certainly be a quiet and dull atmosphere without fans.

In this new reality, players have to create their own electrifying atmosphere to enjoy the matches without encouragement from fans. — @ZililoR

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