NEWLY-PROMOTED Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Tsholotsho Football Club will play their first home game at Barbourfields (BF) Stadium on Week 2 when they host Highlanders.
The new side will face Harare City in the opening week in the capital and upon their return will host the former league champions at BF, instead of their home ground White City.
Tsholotsho have been granted use of the newly-refurbished White City Stadium by the Bulawayo City Council, but the city fathers have stated that for bigger matches, the Matabeleland North side will have to play at the bigger BF.
Against Highlanders, Dynamos and Caps United, Tsholotsho will play at BF. For using White City, Tsholotsho, according to the latest council minutes, will pay $655,88 per match.
Acceding to their request to use White City Stadium, the city council said: “That authority be granted to Tsholotsho Football Club to use White City Stadium for the 2015 soccer season.
“That they pay the usual hire charges for the use of the Stadia/White City or Barbourfields. That they pay the deposit against damages for every booking they make which shall be refundable provided there are no damages. That they sign a lease agreement for the duration of the 2015 soccer season.”
Before making that resolution, council had deliberated on the request by Tsholotsho FC who are in the process of constructing their own facility which reports say will be complete by July.
According to council minutes: “The director of housing and community services (February 18 2015) submitted a self-explanatory letter attached from Vusumuzi Ndlovu, the administrator for Tsholotsho Football Club. The club wanted to use White City Stadium for their home matches for the 2015 soccer season.
“There was currently no suitable stadium in Matabeleland North Province to host PSL matches, except for Hwange which was over 200km away.
In the spirit of promoting soccer in the rural areas, the department had no objections to their request since this would be only for one season. Above that, the Tsholotsho community had already embarked on a fundraising campaign to build their own stadium.
“If authority was granted they would also pay the usual hire charges of $655,88 per match. For big matches, they would obviously have to hire Barbourfields Stadium whose fee was $2 211,50 per match.”
Other stakeholders Zifa and the Sport and Recreation Commission get 6% each from gate takings while the police charge rates per hour.
The Sport ministry and the PSL have lobbied for reduction of stadia levies by all stakeholders as home teams feel they are being milked.
It would not do any good for a small team like Tsholotsho sponsored by businessman Mandla Manyathela and receiving huge backing from the community to pay huge rates.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo is at the forefront of the construction of the new Tsholotsho Stadium. Construction and engineering giant JR Goddard will do the work.