Vic Falls Stadium a game changer

THE decision by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC)to build an international stadium in Victoria Falls will help spread the game outside Harare and Bulawayo.

Cricket is one of the most popular sport codes in Zimbabwe after football and it is an injustice that provinces such as Matabeleland North have no stadia of note for the game.

The province does not have the privilege of elite schools such as those found in Bulawayo and Harare that have cricket facilities to teach children as they grow basics of the sport.

However, this is likely to change with ZC announcing on Tuesday that its plans to construct a 10 000-seater cricket stadium mooted by the Victoria Falls Town Council are still on course.

ZC said President Robert Mugabe would next month officiate at a ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility.

Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and draws thousands of tourists every year.

Zimbabwe is still among the elite club of cricket playing countries despite the noticeable decline in the sport owing to various reasons.

One of the benefits of being a Test playing country is playing against top sides such as Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and India.

All these countries are potentially big source markets for the Zimbabwean tourism industry.

If ZC decides to host some of the fixtures in Victoria Falls, the teams could be a big draw card for tourists.

The venue could also be used to hold exhibition matches by world cricket stars.

From a tourism perspective, the opportunities provided by such a facility make economic sense.

But more importantly, the stadium could be used to spread cricket development equitably across the country.

There is no doubt Matabeleland North has the potential to groom future stars for ZC as long as the province has the right infrastructure and support programmes.

ZC and the Victoria Falls municipality should be applauded for taking the initiative to take the sport to the people.

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