Fading giants Dynamos, who have called Rufaro their home for time immemorial, have joined in the chorus criticising the state of the playing surface at the Mbare venue.
The Glamour Boys coach, Tonderai Ndiraya, agreed with his Highlanders counterpart, Hendrik Pieter de Jongh, who revealed he was shocked the pitch was being used for professional football. This followed the 1-1 league draw in the country’s oldest football rivalry on Sunday.
Players from both teams struggled to apply themselves on the surface which had areas that were dry and bumpy while the middle part of the ground was soaked in mud.
Apart from the teams’ shortcomings, and the struggle by the referee to impose himsef, both coaches were in agreement that the state of the ground was one of the reasons the fans were robbed of entertaining football.
“The playing surface wasn’t too good for flowing football, to start with. I think it was a difficult pitch for both teams to play some good football,” said Ndiraya.
“Naturally, when you get a pitch like that, all your tactics become very difficult to implement.”
Rufaro needs serious attention as per the recommendation by the stadium inspection team earlier this year. The ground, which is owned by the Harare City Council, reverted to natural grass two years ago after the artificial turf installed by Fifa a decade earlier had suffered because of poor maintenance.
Rufaro was among a host of football stadiums condemned by the First Instance Board which comprises members from PSL and ZIFA and is in charge of inspecting football facilities to ensure they meet the requisite standards.
“Football is for the fans — whether Dynamos, Highlanders, Platinum — for everyone. But football has to be played on a good ground, on a good pitch,” said the Bosso coach.
“This pitch is so bad and it doesn’t make it possible for good football.”
With the stalemate, Dynamos failed to break a jinx that has now extended to four years without beating their opponents in a league game. The giants are equal on 40 points with Highlanders occupying seventh place and DeMbare eighth on the log standings.
“I thought a 1-1 draw was a fair result, a good result for us for that matter, especially the fact that we were coming from behind,” said Ndiraya.
“But, all the same I think we have become draw specialists, quite honestly.
“I think there were some games that we could have easily won but we have turned out to give away some stupid goals and in the end we have drawn.
“We have drawn eight games in a row and that’s not good for a team of our stature.
“But if you want to focus on the positives, this is the 17th game that we have gone without losing.
“Of course, we want to win but all the same with where the team is coming from going, for 17 games unbeaten, is quite an achievement for some of the youngsters.
“But we all know the level Dynamos should be.”