Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THE chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the Rugby Africa Gold Cup clash between Zimbabwe and Kenya at Hartsfield Rugby Ground, Theodore Weale has declared readiness for the big match scheduled for Saturday.
“We are making sure that the pitch is watered night and day so that we get it to a better state for the game, renovations are being done to the changing rooms, showers and toilets. We are painting and fixing broken windows. All should be done by Thursday so that Friday we can rest,’’ Weale said.
The former Sables second rower expressed his gratefulness to the Bulawayo City Council for collecting refuse at Hartsfield and for cleaning surrounding areas, something the local authority has undertaken to do again in the days leading up to the international match.
“We are also cleaning the ground, we got a bit of support from the city council with regards to refuse collection, they will also clean the area around ahead of the match,’’ said Weale.
In terms of marketing the event, a road show was held yesterday with the cars having banners and flyers handed out. Advance tickets are being sold for $2 which is the same amount the spectators will fork out at the gate on Saturday. Children in school uniform will not be required to pay to watch the Sables and Simbas in action.
“Come game day, we will be ready, all we need from the Sables is for them to put up a super performance. We are working with Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU). We got a lot of support from a number of stakeholders,’’ he said.
Zimbabwe and Kenya will be in Bulawayo with the Sables training sessions to be staged at Christian Brothers College while Petra High School is where the Simbas will fine tune ahead of Saturday’s match.
A number of dignitaries who include the Kenyan Ambassador to Zimbabwe and the local political leadership are expected to grace the match.
“It’s something that the Bulawayo people have been starved of, we are calling on all the people of Bulawayo to come and make this thing successful, show that Bulawayo is a perfect venue to host international games. Let’s come and support our national team,’’ Weale said.
As way of spicing up the event, a local music group, Vocal Extraordinaire will sing the national anthem. It will be a whole day of rugby action with Falcon College, Churchill, Milton, Petra, Goldridge, Northlea, Plumtree and St Columba’s in action. The George Mukorera-coached women’s national team take on their Botswana counterparts as the main curtain raisers.
Last year, Kenya drubbed Zimbabwe 61-15 at Police Grounds in Harare in what was a disastrous campaign for the Sables where they finished bottom of the log without a win. Both teams were in action yesterday, Kenya at home against Senegal while Zimbabwe took on Namibia in Windhoek.
The Sables last played an international match at Hartsfield in July 2011 when they beat Uganda 49-21 in a Victoria Cup fixture.