SHURUGWI: Sports facilities remain important for the development, growth and success of the sector worldwide and for Zimbabwe it is one of the concerns that need to be addressed.
Most facilities in the country are in a sorry state, which has seen some sporting disciplines such as hockey and swimming relying on private facilities for most of their activities.
Issues of accessibility and affordability are also among challenges athletes face; hindering their progress.
The gold rich town has however less to show in terms of development and besides bad road networks, dilapidated sporting infrastructure speaks volumes to supposed illicit money laundering.
In its current state, the previously revered Makusha stadium is a clear resemblance of how recreational spaces have been neglected in the scenic town.
Located in the heart of Makusha high density suburb, the stadium, was for years a spiritual home of football and a fortress of Makusha FC which used to play in the Central Region Division One league.
But since the collapse of the team, Shurugwi town council has left the facility to rot.
Taking a glance at Makusha Stadium, one does not need spectacles to see how people have helped themselves with what was the perimeter fence.
Only a few rust-ravaged poles serve as a reminder that the stadium was once secured.
In the same vein, Peak mine stadium which is owned by the Zimasco mine used to be a gorgeous facility.
Located beneath the Boterekwa mountains, the stadium was not just a spectacle that gave spectators a glance of Shurugwi’s scenic view but also created an ecstatic atmosphere for a football match.
It is the stadium that used to host the Chamber of Mines games and Zimasco FC matches.
Unfortunately, this stadium no longer resembles what it used to be.
In fact, this architecture now epitomises a tale of broken dreams.
The lush greens of years gone by have been replaced by lifeless thirst-stricken patches of wild grass, while the majority of the pitch is a bare sunbaked hard surface.
The two local stadiums led to the birth of two local football rivals in form of Zimasco FC (Peak Mine stadium) and Makusha FC (Makusha Stadium).
Plying their trade in the Division One league back then, their derby was a must attend.
However, during the mid-2000’s, these two teams became defunct due to lack of sponsorship.
Bemoaning the death of recreational facilities, former Mukusha FC, Edmore Phiri coach shared how stars were born out of the now defunct facilities.
“This town was a talent nurturing hub. Now with all facilities not functioning, seeing talent come from this town becomes a pipe dream. Amongst yester-year talent that came from here includes Thomas Mkwasha, Asani Nhongo, Clemence Mugari to name but a few,” Phiri lamented.
The birth of Nichrut FC in 2015 brought a ray of hope to football lovers in Shurugwi. The club, was established in 2015 following the collapse of Todal Mine FC.
It baceame the first team from the small mining town to play in the topflight after gaining promotion following a successful season in 2016 in the Central rRgion Division One.
CommuTalk also caught up with former Zimbabwe international, Asani Nhongo who said following the closure of Zimasco mine, the disbandment of Nichrut and Makusha FC, local talent has gone down the drain.
“The closure of Zimasco mine has also meant that people now survive on working in surrounding small mines. Added to dilapidating infrastructure, the deepening Zimbabwe crisis and the need to hustle everyday has also meant that the youth have less time for sport.
“These small mines neither give back to the community nor do they create conducive working environment for the young stars as was the norm back in the day,” said Nhongo.
Locals also miss the beautiful game.
“Lack of facilities have deprived us of yester-year entertainment. Something should be done,” said one local identified as Brian.
Taking part in recreational activities, especially outdoors, can greatly improve physical health. People who take part in recreational activities maintain lower body fat percentages, and have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Recreational facilities have also been commended for helping the youth stay away from drugs and other pre-mature activities.