Zimbabwe has yet to see any significant economic benefit from the World Cup of soccer unfolding in South Africa. Even so-called fan parks set up in various parts of Zimbabwe have not attracted many fans.
Businessman and soccer commentator Omega Sibanda said that despite World Cup fever most restaurants, fan parks and nightclubs in cities are empty as most Zimbabweans are short on cash these days. He said some entrepreneurs invested heavily setting up soccer fan centers, but are not seeing much of a return so far.
Some fan park equipment is reportedly stuck in China as the government could not raise funds to have it shipped to Zimbabwe. Sibanda told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that fan parks set up by state-controlled mobile provider NetOne are not drawing crowds as they were not set up in areas where people lack televisions.
“They should have set up these in high density suburbs like Cowdray Park and Nkulumane instead of Queens Sports Club which is only patronized by the elite,” he said.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe President John Mufukare said tour operators who had hoped for a pickup in visitors to Zimbabwe on the back of the Cup are disappointed, though there is still hope for a boost once some countries have been knocked out of the tournament and national fans look further afield.