News

Failed economy halts work on Zimbabwe's Academy

Cricinfo has learned that the reconstruction of Zimbabwe's Academy, which was burned down in an arson attack in late 2006, has stalled since work was suspended by the board in April

Cricinfo staff
11-Dec-2008

A victim of Zimbabwe's shredded economy: the shell of the Cricket Academy where work was suspended in April, pictured this week © Cricinfo
 
Cricinfo has learned that the reconstruction of Zimbabwe's Academy, which was burned down in an arson attack in late 2006, has stalled since work was suspended by the board in April.
In February, reacting to a Cricinfo report that little had been done since the fire, a Zimbabwe Cricket spokesman said: "The tender for the building was awarded at the end of last year and construction work is underway now. The contractors are doing the brick work. Subject to weather and the availability of materials, we expect the construction to be through by the end of April."
Lovemore Banda, ZC's media manager, told Cricinfo that work had been halted as a consequence of the country's dire economy. "We started the building operations with the hope that the economic situation would improve," he said. "We had expected, all things being equal, to have the reconstruction of the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy completed by April. However, that has not been possible, because of the hyper inflationary state of our economy.
"Faced with critical shortages of crucial building resources and the ever-spiralling costs of those available, ZC was left with no option but to ask the contractor to leave the site until such a time as the material supply situation is stable. We decided to put the project on hold and watch the economic trend in the country and then resume once the financial climate is conducive."
Banda scotched suggestions that work had been halted because of ZC's own financial situation. "Of course, it cannot be denied that ZC is struggling financially. We are not immune to the harsh economic situation in the country. The most important point though is that we will not sink."
The Academy is little more than a shell, with the second story hardly started. However, the nets and pitch itself remain in use and appeared this week to be in a good condition.
Local sources also paint a gloomy picture about the state of grounds around Zimbabwe, with many reported to be overgrown, as reported by Cricinfo earlier this year, and even some of those which were in use then have fallen into disrepair in recent months. The rampant inflation and shortage of basics such as fuel, machine parts and fertilisers means that ZC is increasingly powerless to intervene.
Chronic and well-publicised water shortages are only likely to exacerbate the situation. A few venues, such as Harare Sports Club and Queens Sports Club, have their own boreholes and so can continue functioning for the time being, but the general situation continues to deteriorate.