Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Zimbabwe Cricket, City of Gweru Sign Lease Agreement to Build New Stadium

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has agreed a long-term lease with the City of Gweru for the development of a new cricket stadium ahead of two major global events in the country.

The agreement, which relates to a 10 446-hectare piece of land in the Midlands capital, will be legally binding for 99 years.

ZC is looking to turn the plot into a multi-purpose stadium, including spectator stands, a VIP pavilion, a media centre, corporate boxes and an accommodation facility.

“This is a 99-year lease where Zimbabwe Cricket is going to come in to construct a state-of-the art cricket ground and us, as the City of Gweru, we are providing the space in terms of the land – it’s a 10-hectare (piece of) land so that at least they can put up all the facilities . . .” Gweru Town Clerk Livingston Churu said, explaining what the agreement entails.

“It’s actually a multi-discipline facility where you are going to have cricket, you are also going to have squash, I am sure, and all the other disciplines, even tennis. So that is how it’s structured.”

After signing off the agreement on behalf of the national cricket body on Friday, an elated ZC Managing Director Givemore Makoni said: “We are pretty excited we have put pen to paper on the lease agreement between Zimbabwe Cricket and the Gweru City Council.

“This is a huge milestone as far as cricket development is concerned, as it means we are bringing cricket to the Midlands province.

“One of our strategic objectives is to become the number one sport in the country and to achieve that we are taking the game to all four corners of the country.

“But without Gweru, the capital city of one of the major provinces, that strategic goal or milestone will not be reached.”

City of Gweru Mayor Martin Chivhoko welcomed the development, hailing it as a game changer for the Midlands capital.

“As a city, we are happy with this partnership that we have entered with ZC for the growth of sport in our city,” the mayor said.

“It’s also going to improve our GDP as we are going to have visitors who will come for cricket matches in our city.”

The project has come at a time Zimbabwe is preparing to co-host two major global cricket tournaments, the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2026 and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2027.

“As you know we are hosting the Under-19 Men’s World Cup in 2026 and the Men’s World Cup in 2027 and we will need practice and match venues . . . Gweru will be used as one of the practice venues for the main events, especially in 2027,” Makoni said.

“Whenever you host major events it’s got a huge economic impact on a country and cities.

“Bringing countries or teams to Gweru will have a huge economic impact. The spinoff will be huge in terms of accommodation, tourism in the city, the number of players and cultural exchange and all that will be coming to Gweru . . .”

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