Bingu National Stadium Gets Caf nod
To host Flames, Egypt Afcon qualifier
The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has approved Bingu National Stadium (BNS) as the host of the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Egypt next month.
This could be a timely relief for the Flames as they are expected to host Egypt on March 27, seven days after the first leg away in Cairo, Egypt.
According to a circular from Caf dated January 31 2023 to all member associations signed by development director Raul Chipenda, which Times Sport has seen, BNS is on the list of selected venues ahead of Match Day 3 and 4.
However, member associations have been requested to select their home venues from the approved list before February 7 2023.
“Considering that Caf has been carrying out various stadium assessments and inspections across the member associations, please find the list of pre-approved stadia, per participating national association, to host the group stage of the Afcon Côte d’Ivoire 2023 Match Day 3 and 4,” the circular from Caf reads.
This will be the second consecutive home match for the Flames to be hosted at the facility since June last year when they beat Ethiopia 2-1 in the Afcon qualifiers.
However, member associations, whose stadiums were not approved, have been asked to send full stadium pre-inspection report to Caf before February 10 2023.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President Walter Nyamilandu was relieved.
“Our ambition, to host such a high-profile match against Egypt, has come to pass. The fans should be excited that they will see Mo Salah live in action against the Flames at our own backyard.
“We need the boost of such home ground advantage going into a tough fixture,” Nyamilandu said.
Sports Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda said the government, BNS staff and other stakeholders were working tirelessly to maintain the facility.
“It is good that Bingu National Stadium has been certified fit to host Egypt. Stadiums in other countries have failed the test. It just shows that we are working hard to ensure that the facility is in good condition for high-profile games. We hope fans will throng to the venue to help the Flames utilise home ground advantage,” Chimwendo Banda said.
Ethiopia chose the facility as their home ground when they hosted Egypt in which they won 2-0. Again, the facility hosted TotalEnergies U-17 Afcon qualifiers which were played during the Region 5 Youth Games in December.
BNS Manager Ambilike Mwaungulu said they will not relax but work hard to improve the facility.
“We will continue to keep the facility in good shape,” Mwaungulu said.
Sports analyst George Kaudza Masina said it was not a surprise that the facility has secured Caf’s nod.
“A lot of effort was put on the ground by both government and Fam. They should continue taking care of it,” he said.
Group D is wide open as all the four teams have three points each after two matches. The Flames are second just behind leaders Ethiopia on goal difference whereas Guinea and Egypt are third and fourth respectively.
Ethiopia and Guinea risk playing their home matches away from home after their stadiums were not included on the list released Tuesday.