Sakunda pulls out of Rufaro Stadium renovation project, blames City of Harare
Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants, Dynamos FC’s hopes of returning to their Mbare based traditional stadium, Rufaro, have once again been dented.
It comes after the club’s principal sponsor Sakunda Holdings through a statement dated 7 November announced it has with immediate effect withdrawn from the sporting facility’s renovation project deal which they had initially agreed with the Harare City Council (HCC).
In March this year (2022), Sakunda and the HCC entered into an agreement which proposed that the former will be a granted a long lease for the refurbishment of the dilapidated stadium to meet the required FIFA standards.
However, the fuel company has in a statement signed by the company’s Chief Operating Officer Charles Chitambo pulled out of the deal due to allegedly ‘professional incompetence’.
This is due to several allegations they believe have been “emanating from the council office” including “untruthful and malicious allegations that Sakunda intends to purchase Rufaro Stadium, which is a public asset”.
“Following our numerous unsuccessful requests to present to your office our final feasibility to study report and proposed designs for the refurbishment of Rufaro Stadium, we write to express our gravest misgivings on the unfortunate events and communications emanating from your (HCC) office.
“We are shocked and disturbed by untruthful and malicious (reports) that Sakunda intends to purchase Rufaro Stadium, which is a public asset. Nothing could be further from the truth, and we believe you know that.
“The unfounded allegations are grounded on malice and a coordinated attempt to curtail our efforts to contribute to the revival and modernisation of public infrastructure,” reads part of the statement.
“We wish to place it on record again that Sakunda did not have any commercial interests in this project, suffice to say that our participation in the same was entirely philanthropic, for the public good.
“Consequently, we would like to hereby notify you (HCC) of our immediate withdrawal from the partnership. Given the toxic (sic) we have now seen in the Council’s attitude, and a lack of political will, Sakunda hereby withdraws its participation from the project.
“Notwithstanding, the all projects designs and plans will be donated to Council in the public interest.”
This is not the first time that private companies have pulled out of the deal to revamp Rufaro Stadium which last hosted league matches three years ago.
In 2014, there was a deal of US$10 million by a tobacco company and also in 2019 another deal by an undisclosed private company which had proposed to renovate the facility and get the naming rights of the stadium, but both efforts hit a brick wall.