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Design & Development

Work begins on Victoria Falls’ Mosi-oa-Tunya International Cricket Stadium

Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has laid the foundation stone for a new multi-purpose stadium that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is building in Victoria Falls ahead of the country’s co-hosting of the 2027 Cricket World Cup.

Zimbabwe is co-hosting the International Cricket Council’s showpiece tournament with South Africa and Namibia, with the new 10,000-seat stadium being targeted as a venue for the tournament, along with the co-hosting of the 2026 Under-19 World Cup, which Zimbabwe is staging alongside Namibia.

Mosi-oa-Tunya International Cricket Stadium will be the first major element of a wider infrastructure investment plan by ZC, while it is also being looked upon by the government as a focal point for the Masuwe Special Economic Zone for Tourism in Victoria Falls.

The government is planning a multi-million dollar project including a convention centre with associated hotels and villas, a golf estate, a medical tourism facility, a commercial central business district, an international service centre and high-end residential units.

The government’s Vision 2030 strategy includes the creation of a $5bn (£3.93bn/€4.62bn) tourism and hospitality industry by 2025. ZC was last year awarded 10 hectares of state-owned land at Masuwe in order to develop an international-standard stadium and associated facilities that would promote sports tourism and enhance Victoria Falls’ destination status.

Between $5m and $10m will be invested in the stadium project, according to The Chronicle, mainly from ICC grants. ZC said the development includes the construction of a playing field, practice nets, scoreboards, broadcast and media centre, changing rooms, hospitality facilities, grandstand and other spectator areas, all blending into the surrounding forest and connecting with the context of the resort town.

The project has drawn criticism from local officials in recent weeks over how it will impact on the natural beauty of Victoria Falls, but Mnangagwa yesterday (Thursday) hailed the initiative as a “most welcome” development that will enhance the rich natural heritage associated with the resort town.

“The project dovetails with my administration’s quest to comprehensively broaden the tourism products and integrate the development of the Masuwe Special Economic Zone through promoting sports tourism within our premium resort city of Victoria Falls,” said Mnangagwa, according to ZC’s official website.

“The location for the envisaged facility… will undoubtedly contribute to the speedy attainment of tourism sector targets towards our national development aspirations as outlined in the National Development Strategy and Vision 2030.”

He continued: “Zimbabwe is honoured and remains ready to proudly co-host the 2027 Cricket World Cup, together with our sister republics of South Africa and Namibia. To this end, the proposed cricket stadium is one of the priority projects that will be pursued with a greater sense of urgency as we develop, improve and expand our national integrated infrastructure.”

The Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Ministry of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture will partner with ZC on the project. “The modernisation and societal evolving trends and patterns in the sports and recreation sector across the world should not be ignored as we develop sports, recreation and tourism industries,” said Mnangagwa.

“As we focus on the construction of the Zimbabwe Cricket stadium, here in Victoria Falls, the rehabilitation, upgrading and modernisation of other sporting facilities across the country should equally be given appropriate attention.

“This includes the construction of new community sports facilities, introduction of bucket seats at our stadiums across the country, as well as adoption of e-enabled aspects of sporting activities, which facilitate pre-match bookings and e-ticketing, among other aspects.”

ZC chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani, said infrastructure investment is needed as cricket is fast becoming Zimbabwe’s number one sport, “if it is not already occupying the top spot”. 

He added: “But its growing popularity is not without its challenges. One of those challenges is to ensure facilities are meeting the needs of users and are responding to the way cricket and community sport is being consumed.

“With more players and a range of different cricket formats recently being introduced, the demand on cricket facilities and infrastructure is greater than ever. Our strategy as Zimbabwe Cricket provides a clear direction for the planning, provision and development of community cricket facilities.

“We have identified key facility priorities in each of the 10 provinces of our country, with our main focus being on constructing new stadiums and improving and expanding the capacity of existing facilities.”