AFTER the successful commissioning of his Heart Stadium by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Waterfalls on Sunday, PHD leader Walter Magaya now wants to turn his attention on constructing similar facilities in his hometown Chitungwiza.
The 5 000-seater facility was officially opened at a ceremony that was attended by top government officials, ambassadors, businesspeople, Premier Soccer League bosses, coaches, and past and present footballers, among others.
Magaya revealed that he sold four houses, two luxury cars and 64 residential stands to fund the Heart Stadium project, a facility replete with unique features including trendy dugouts, world class dressing rooms equipped with 100-inch television sets and other modern electronic devices, VIP enclosure and directors/corporate boxes.
It also has a sophisticated suspended playing pitch.
Magaya said he was humbled by the support he received on Sunday, although he expressed disappointment that the Zifa Normalisation Committee, who are the custodian of local football, decided to stay away despite being formally invited.
Speaking to the media after the ceremony on Sunday, Magaya said he wants to replicate the Heart Stadium success elsewhere, including in Chitungwiza, where he wants to construct at least two stadiums to help talented young footballers in the dormitory town realise their dreams.
“I was a very talented footballer growing up, and I featured for the Under-13 national team, but could not realise my potential in football because we didn’t have facilities. I don’t want the same to happen to the current and future generations,” Magaya said.
A few years ago, Magaya proposed a deal to the Chitungwiza Town Council to renovate Chibuku Stadium which he wanted to use as a home ground for his Premiership side Yadah FC.
However, council officials said they were not ready to give him a long lease, which he wanted, and the deal collapsed.
But he is not ready to give up, and on Sunday, Magaya appealed to Mnangagwa to intervene.
“Your Excellency, we have approached different city councils, looking first at Chitungwiza where I come from. I wish to construct a stadium in Chitungwiza and replicate the same that is here, at Chibuku Stadium. I have engaged the Chitungwiza City Council, but the response is not yet favourable. It is my prayer that I assist Chitungwiza. If they give me a greenlight today, I will start work the next day,” he said.
Magaya went back for another meeting with the Chitungwiza City Council to try and revive the deal, the third time he had such a meeting, but still found no joy.
“I want to build two stadiums there. I have the stadium plans, and everything is ready, but they (councillors) are slow. They don’t react, I don’t know why. I want to renovate Chibuku Stadium, I want to construct a stadium in Zengeza. I’m ready, I have guys behind the scenes who are ready to sponsor. I have big plans for Chitungwiza, I want to build that city. I went there four years ago; I went there again two years ago so this was my third visit there. I met the full council and I told them I want to build Chitungwiza and bring it to life. There are a million people in Chitungwiza and these guys need help, so my dream is to build them stadiums.”