Bingu National Stadium (BNS) will host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group D qualifier between Ethiopia and Egypt next month.
This comes after Confederation of African Football (Caf) approved Ethiopia Football Federation (EFF)’s request to use the facility as its home ground following the ban of its stadiums in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia will play the Flames at BNS on June 5 after Caf gave the Lilongwe facility a temporary nod to host international matches, having failed to host 2022 World Cup qualifiers last year.
Four days later, Ethiopia will host the Pharaohs of Egypt whereas the Flames will be away in Guinea for Match Day Two.
A letter from Caf addressed to EFF confirmed that the match will take place in Lilongwe.
“We confirm receipt of your communication with the choice of alternative venue abroad for your match. Please note that the approved Stadium will be set as venue to host Group D qualifier Ethiopia vs Egypt match related to group stages of African Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023,” reads part of the communication from Caf to EFF.
“Notwithstanding the above, Bingu National Stadium management must ensure that pitch in the field of play area is maintained and in perfect conditions to host your match.”
The Ethiopian federation wrote Malawi government and Football Association of Malawi (Fam) after Caf banned all its facilities from hosting Grade A matches.
Fam Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka confirmed that Ethiopia requested Fam to facilitate the use of BNS.
“We engaged government on the request. Government has given us a go ahead and has mandated us to engage EFF to discuss terms and conditions. It is good for Malawi to host such a high profile match as we strive to earn Caf’s confidence on our BNS hosting matches and getting permanent certification,” Zakazaka said.
This could be good news for BNS management as they will be able to generate revenues by hiring out the facility.
By hosting Egypt at BNS, EFF is likely to pay a fee to the management through Fam.
Last year, Fam played all the 2022 World Cup qualifiers at Orlando Stadium in South Africa.
The association reportedly paid R 158,000 (about K11 million) for the venue on top of match organisation fee to Cosafa.
BNS Manager Ambilike Mwaungulu said management will make sure the facility is in shape for the two high profile matches.
“We will do our best to make sure that the stadium is in good condition. This is our chance to prove that we have capacity to host high profile matches,” Mwaungulu said.
Group D comprises Malawi, Ethiopia, Egypt and Guinea.
All the four teams participated in the 2021 Afcon finals in Cameroon in which Egypt finished as runners-up to eventual winners Senegal.
Malawi, who exited in the round of 16, will face Egypt home and away in September this year. The Flames will face Ethiopia and Guinea in March next year