By Eddie Chikamhi
Dynamos chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, has called on authorities to boost security at the National Sports Stadium to help secure expensive equipment being used in the facility’s facelift.
This follows a spate of thefts at offices at the giant stadium.
The former ZIFA boss is worried the daring thieves, who have been targeting offices housed at the country’s biggest sports stadium, might now target material being used to renovate the facility.
The Government has injected considerable financial resources, running into million of dollars, into the renovation of the stadium, as part of a massive facelift of the facility.
This followed the decision by both CAF and FIFA to ban the country’s main football stadium from being used to host international matches, until a number of areas had been improved.
The two international football governing bodies were not happy, among other things, with the poor state of the pitch, the dressing rooms, the doping room and the media facilities.
However, there has been progress made in addressing those concerns and the pitch now looks in perfect condition.
Work has also been carried out in renovating the dressing and doping rooms and a new media centre has been installed. The Government has also floated a tender for local companies to provide bucket seats to be installed at the stadium.
But despite all the good work which the Government has been doing, there are fears some thieves could spoil the party, just weeks before CAF send their inspectors to review the work which has been carried out.
Mashingaidze said lack of security, at the giant stadium, was now an issue that requires to be looked at, as a matter of urgency, before the thieves pounce.
His club, Dynamos, whose offices are at the giant stadium, lost computers and important documents to thieves three months ago.
“It’s sad that we should be talking about theft cases at National Sports Stadium at this point,’’ Mashingaidze said.
“This is a stadium that is being installed with some important equipment, ahead of an inspection visit, by the CAF team.
“So, security needs to be upped to prevent the thieves from damaging the good work that is being done at the stadium.’’
Zimbabwe national police spokesperson, Paul Nyathi, confirmed the incident after the matter was reported to Mabelreign Police Station.
“The theft is believed to have happened sometime during the lockdown and was only discovered recently when they came back to their offices,’’ Nyathi told our sister newspaper, The Sunday Mail.
“The matter is now being handled by CID Malborough.
“We can confirm that there was a report made on June 3, concerning a break-in at the National Sports Stadium and some gadgets, including a Lenovo laptop, were stolen.
“We are conducting investigations.’’
The thieves also made off with agreements, between the club and their principal sponsors, Gold Leaf Tobacco.
However, as has now been confirmed by other tenants at the giant stadium, the thieves didn’t just stop when they raided the Dynamos offices.
They have since robbed the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe, and the Special Olympics Zimbabwe, with the two organisations losing property worth thousands of dollars.
FUZ and Special Olympics have their offices at the giant stadium.
The two organisations reported, this week, that they lost valuables to thieves, hardly three months after DeMbare suffered the same fate.
The footballers’ union were left shell-shocked when their solar panels, which were installed right at the roof of the stadium, were dismantled by the thieves and are yet to be recovered.
Officials from the Special Olympics Zimbabwe, who have been working from home since the lockdown measures were announced in March, were thrown into shock on their return to work on Monday.
They found out that various items, including a digital camera, a projector, fridge compressor, training balls, bibs and branded T-shirts were missing from their offices.
What remained a mystery, to them, was that there were no signs of a forced break-in.
FUZ secretary general, Thomas Sweswe, confirmed the theft of their property.
“We lost solar panels to these thieves and it’s surprising how they got to know that there were panels right on top of the roof. We had six big solar panels,” he said.
“We first realised, three months ago, that three of them were missing after experiencing erratic supplies.
“Then, recently, when we experienced challenges with electricity, that’s when it was discovered that the remaining three panels had been stolen as well.’’
An official from Special Olympic Zimbabwe said they were surprised to find their office in disarray when they returned to work, yet there are two security companies manning the premises.
“Ours was a different kind of break-in. It’s difficult to explain because it appears the thieves had spare keys to our offices which they used to gain access.
“It boggles the mind how this could have happened because there are two security companies that guard the premises.
“We go through some rigorous security checks every day when we come to the office and how someone made off with the loot is a mystery.
“We have reported to the stadium authorities and we believe the matter has been taken to police.
“Everything is fishy because our spare keys have been reported missing,” said the official. The Herald