WHY? Sheasham demands answers after PSL reverses ZIFA decision to allow use of Bata Stadium

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NEWLY promoted Sheasham will not be able to fulfill its fixture against 2016 premiership champions Caps United if the Premier Soccer League (PSL) does not rescind a move to reverse approval of Bata Stadium.

By Bhora Afrika

Gweru’s Bata Stadium was approved for use by ZIFA’s First Instance Board (FIB) a week ago, hosted Bulawayo giants Highlanders before uproar online and offline questioned the move.

However, without an official complainant, Sheasham has asked the PSL to clarify why it has chosen to shut the stadium’s gates, just weeks after a grand re-opening.

Bata Stadium

The team had been given temporary space at Mandava stadium, some 120km from their home after neighbouring Ascot Stadium was deemed not worthy.

“The first Instance Board having approved the use of Bata Stadium to host PSL matches and my team having successfully hosted Highlanders FC at Bata Stadium on the 7th of May 2023, I was shocked to receive correspondence from Mr Kenny Ndebele suspending/banning the hosting of all PSL matches purportedly in the interest of all football stakeholders,” reads a letter sent to the PSL by Sheasham President Clever Mandaza.

“I am disturbed because the purported reversal of the FIB comes at a point when my team is busy fulfilling the conditions the FIB laid out and we are still within the timelines provided. Therefore, ask the basis of the cancellation of the approval which was done by the FIB and why the reversal does not come through the FIB.

“May you be kind enough to resolve this before our next game against Caps United as my team will not be able to fulfil the match away from Bata Stadium.”

The Construction Boys, as they refer to themselves have rehabilitated Bata Stadium to resemble Ngezi Platinum’s Baobab Stadium.

It has terraces in some parts and raised areas in others. Images of dug up terraces after the Highlanders opener are what raised questions to its preparedness and whether it met ZIF set standards.

“What makes it more disturbingly painful is that the purported reversal comes against the background of us being busy fulfilling the conditions imposed by the FIB and we are still within the time limits set to fulfil the conditions,” fumed Club Chairperson Reginald Chidawanyika in a letter to ZIFA.

“Highlanders FC having played at Bata Stadium and not having filed a formal complaint we therefore inquire the interest of stakeholders that you seek to protect.

“It is also interesting that the decision is made without providing us with an opportunity to make representation before your arrival at that decision and neither do you provide us of the detailed reasons of your decision.

“As you are aware we were on a short-term lease for use of Mandava Stadium and the lease expired following the approval of our own stadium by FIB.

“FC Platinum had reluctantly acceded use of their stadium on the basis that we would get our stadium approved in April 2023 due to the fact that they have three teams using the stadium. Therefore, until we secure an alternative stadium, we are unable to host Caps United.”

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