Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have unveiled major plans to build a new cricket stadium at the iconic resort city of Victoria Falls.
The initiative forms part of the governing board’s decentralisation, development and growth project as it aims to capitalise on the broad popularity of the sport across the southern African nation.
Speaking to media, ZC Chairman Tavengwa Mukhulani expressed his desire to see “every province of this country to be able to have a flavour of international cricket.” While there have been ongoing talks of building a stadium at Victoria Falls for the past decade, nothing concrete has ever materialised from them. However, all that is set to change now after the board was recently granted land by the Victoria Falls Council.
“We have somehow found favour with the Victoria Falls Town Council who have given us a piece of land which we think is ideal to develop a stadium. Our focus is to decentralise cricket and to make it available and accessible to the fans. We don’t want a Midlands fan to travel to Harare to watch a player from Midlands, you want them to watch that player in their backyard, it stimulates interest and just helps grow the game,” said Mukhulani.
Once the stadium is finally built, it will take cricket to the far-west of the country, 435 kilometres by road from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. The township of Victoria Falls is a popular resort destination, home to the iconic waterfalls of the same name, as well as the magnificent Zambezi National Park. The area receives hundreds of thousands visitors annually, with many more tourists also visiting the waterfall from the Zambian side, across the border.
In more exciting news for Zimbabwean cricket fans, ZC have confirmed that they will also be commencing with refurbishment of the Harare Sports Club and Queens Sports Club grounds, in a bid to boost seating capacity for fans. The aforementioned grounds are the principal international cricket venues in the country and recently witnessed raucous crowds turning up to see the home nation at the ODI Cricket World Cup qualifier. In fact, many fans had to be turned away at the gates, with the seating capacities of both stadiums (around 10,000 each) proving insufficient to cater for the increased fan interest.
The ageing venues are past their use by date according to Mukhulani and therefore much overdue for an expansion and refurbishment. “These are stadiums that were built long back and we are decades down. Management has been mandated to start the refurbishment works to make sure that the two stadiums are ready for the World Cup,” he stated.
Both the Harare and Bulawayo grounds are set to host games for the ODI World Cup in 2027 alongside other venues in South Africa and Namibia, when the tournament expands back to 14 teams.
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