GWERU-based Castle Lager Premier Soccer League newcomers Sheasham FC could use Zvishavane’s Mandava Stadium for their first matches of the season.
Sheasham is currently renovating Bata Stadium, which looks unlikely to be ready by the time the league kicks off this March.
The team’s spokesperson Elias Maginya said they had begun negotiations with the owners of Mandava Stadium, Zvishavane Town Council.
“Since Ascot stadium was deemed unfit to host PSL games, we have already started talks with authorities at Mandava Stadium,” he said.
“As for Bata Stadium, we have not yet invited Zifa Club Licensing First Instance Board for inspection. We are still doing touch ups, and we will definitely advise you on our home ground once we have agreed,” he said.
Mandava is also home to PSL champions FC Platinum.
Sheasham has notified Zifa and PSL that their home stadium will be Bata and Mandava will be their alternative venue after Ascot again failed to make the grade.
Zifa has notified stakeholders that Ascot Stadium and Rusape’s Vengere Stadium will not host matches as they failed to meet the minimum requirements expected by the FIB.
Other stadiums to host PSL matches in 2023 have been inspected and it is believed the First Instance Board did not come to Gweru because Ascot Stadium has not been chosen by any team in the league.
It is not the first time that a team from Gweru has to travel out of town to fulfill home matches as Telone and Chapungu in 2019 used Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo and Mandava respectively during the first half of the season as Ascot had been condemned by the FIB.
A third team during that season Mushowani Stars from Bindura played away from home at Rufaro Stadium in Harare instead of their preferred Trojan Mine Stadium in Bindura.
The three teams were all relegated leading to many concluding that playing from home has numerous disadvantages.
Apart from the costs incurred by the team, fans are also disadvantaged as they would either have to travel, which is also costly, or fail to watch their team’s matches.
Former Chapungu team manager Apollo Jurick Ntini summed it up in 2020 pointing out that the Air Force of Zimbabwe side and Telone had been relegated in 2019 because playing their home games away from Gweru had drained the two teams’ resources and energy.
Council spokesperson Vimbai Chingwaramusee however said Ascot Stadium had not been inspected for the upcoming season.