Malawi National Football Team may not be returning to Bingu National Stadium (BNS) any time soon as Confederation of African Football (Caf) has, again, declared the match venue as being unfit to host international football matches.
This follows another test conducted at the China-built facility on Saturday.
The development means Football Association of Malawi (Fam) must nominate a match venue for the Flames’ match against Ivory Coast by close of business today.
The two teams face off in a Group D qualifier of the 2022 World Cup on October 6.
Fam President Walter Nyamilandu described the development as a setback.
Nyamilandu said they had challenged the decision following recent renovations which were undertaken at BNS.
“I am afraid to advise that BNS has not passed the second inspection that was undertaken. The ban has not been uplifted and we have been requested to nominate an alternative venue outside Malawi by September 17 [today].
“We are appealing the matter to both Caf and Fifa. To support our case, we have sent them a video of the current status of the stadium for their appreciation,” he said.
Nyamilandu said the ban does not affect Nyasa Big Bullets’ Caf Champions League preliminary round second leg match against AmaZulu.
“BNS has only been banned for World Cup matches,” he said.
The Fam boss said they expected lifting of the ban after impressive renovation works.
“For your information, though Caf acknowledges that tremendous work has been done on the pitch, they have failed the stadium on the grounds of having several patches that are not in good playable condition.
“However, we have argued that Caf should have waited for the match between Nyasa Bullets and AmaZulu on Saturday to see how the ground would have coped before making the final determination. So we have appealed and we look forward to the outcome,” he said.
Malawi is among several countries that have failed the second inspection.
Sports analyst George Kaudza-Masina said some factors, rather than the condition of the pitch, were at play.
“I do not believe the issue is to do with the ground considering that other pitches are in worse shape as seen in most stadia during the World Cup qualifiers. From the look of things, football politics is at play here,” Kaudza- Masina said.
He urged Caf to clearly stipulate its misunderstandings with Fam.
“These decisions are unfair to Fam considering the financial challenges they are going through. As things stand, Fam should revisit the check list and do the needful if we are to sway Caf to smile at us.”
“Let Caf come in the open for Fam to apologise if there are any issues. Otherwise, this is not helping our football,” Kaudza- Masina said.