PREMIER League football returns to Rufaro Stadium today after five years when Caps United host league debutants Bikita Minerals.

The Mbare Stadium last hosted a topflight league game in 2019 before it was shut to make way for renovations, which only began last year.

While refurbishment work is yet to be fully completed, the authorities have partially homologated the facility to host league matches.

A Zifa First Instance Board team reportedly made a final assessment of the stadium yesterday morning and gave the facility a thumbs up to provisionally host matches while renovation works continue.

No official comment could be obtained from the Premier Soccer League (PSL) yesterday, but a Caps United official confirmed they had been given the go-ahead to use the stadium.

“It’s confirmed, we had our pre-match meeting at Rufaro this afternoon, and yes, our game is on tomorrow [today],” Caps United administrator Morton Dodzo said.

“They [PSL] might have not circulated the information, but I can confirm that we will play our match at Rufaro. We had our final training session at the venue today [yesterday] before the PSL invited us to the pre-match meeting.”

Renovations at the stadium have been moving at a snail’s pace, and Caps United supporters who travelled to Kariba last week for their match against another Harare-based club Herentals because of a stadium crisis in the capital, voluntarily offered their labour to help in sprucing up the facility.

The fans will be expecting a homecoming victory from the Lloyd Chitembwe-coached side today against the league debutants.

The Green Machine are going into the match with their tails up following their 2-0 win against the Students last week, in a match Chitembwe was shown a red card.

But they are facing a Bikita Minerals side who showed a lot of quality in their 1-1 draw against Yadah in their first ever league match on Saturday at Sakubva in Mutare.

The league debutants led the match for longer periods before conceding a 90th minute equaliser.

The Lithium Boys are playing their home matches in Mutare because they do not have a PSL certified stadium.

Coach Saul Chaminuka said it is a shame that the whole of Masvingo province does not have a certified stadium to host league matches, a situation that is now forcing his team to travel every week for games.

Mucheke Stadium, which used to host league matches, was condemned years ago.

“That is Zimbabwe for you,” Chaminuka said.

“We don’t have facilities, and this has to happen (travelling every week). You can imagine that as big a province like Masvingo, they don’t have a facility that can meet Zifa standards. We are not talking of Caf standards here, but Zifa standards.”

After today’s match, Rufaro will also host an Easter Friday clash between Yadah, who are the home side, and Dynamos.

Yadah will be playing at Rufaro as their newly built Heart Stadium is still being spruced up.

Matchday 3 fixtures

Today: Caps United v Bikita Minerals (Rufaro), Arenel Movers v Herentals (Luveve), FC Platinum v Chicken Inn (Mandava), ZPC Kariba v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Nyamhunga), GreenFuel v TelOne (GreenFuel Arena), Manica Diamonds v Chegutu Pirates (Sakubva).

Tomorrow: Highlanders v Simba Bhora (Barbourfields), Yadah v Dynamos (Rufaro), Hwange v Bulawayo Chiefs (Colliery) — NewsDay

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