Harare derby called off

HARARE - This weekend’s Harare derby between Dynamos and CAPS United has been called off due to a lack of venue to host the match.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) made the decision yesterday after it became apparently clear there was no alternative venue to host such a big game in the capital.

Initially, the National Sports Stadium was supposed to host the match but the venue is not available this weekend after the ministry of Local Government booked a church crusade.

The only other venue that could have been able to host the derby was Rufaro Stadium but it is yet to get clearance from the Zifa First Instances Body.

Harare City Council recently removed the artificial turf at Rufaro and planted a natural grass surface which will only be ready by May 14.

At least two PSL matches have been held at Morris Depot earlier this week but due to security reasons, the league did not consider the venue for the Harare derby. 

“The Castle Lager PSL fixture between Dynamos FC and CAPS United FC scheduled for Sunday, May 7, 2017 has been postponed due to unavailability of a venue to host the match,” PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare said last night.

“The NSS has been booked for a church event while the City of Harare is still to complete works on Rufaro Stadium. A new date will be announced in due course.

“We would like to apologise to all our stakeholders for the postponement of this much-awaited derby.”

Dynamos president Kenni Mubaiwa said he was disappointed with the way the ministry of Local Government had relegated them to second-class citizens. 

“We feel let down by the owners of the NSS because they are prioritising someone who is coming to hire the venue just once in a year at our expense,” Mubaiwa, who is also the PSL chairperson, said. 

“We have come a long way with them and it is disappointing that they can all of a sudden turn their backs on us. This is our national stadium which means first priority should be given to events that carry national importance. It is not everyone in this country that attends this particular church but I’m sure the PSL is an important sector in this country.

“Although this decision directly affects my club as Dynamos, I’m sure this is a clear sign that the owners of the stadium do not value the rest of the teams who have been doing business with them in the past.”    

Mubaiwa said they were looking forward to Sunday’s game especially after they had picked up form recently.

“After we had beaten Yadah FC, all our focus was squarely on the derby against CAPS United,” he said.

“This is one game I’m sure we were going to get a positive result because of the way our team had performed last week.

“Now our game plan has been thrown out of the window. We have to hurry around to look for a practice game this weekend in order to keep our players match fit.”

The PSL is going to find it difficult to secure an alternative weekend to reschedule this fixture since CAPS United are involved in the African Champions League.

Makepekepe travel to Cairo, Egypt next week to take on Zamalek in their first Group B match of the competition.

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