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Bushes infest Bingu National Stadium pitch

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The imposing Bingu National Stadium (BNS) is slowly developing into an eyesore with bushes freely over growing on its pitch.

The match facility was built with a K40 billion Chinese loan and has proved to be a white elephant as stakeholders seldom use it.

BNS has proved to be unattractive for matches because of exorbitant associated costs emanating from its usage.

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This has resulted into the stadium becoming dormant with most sports bodies failing to afford the cost of holding activities there.

A recent visit to BNS revealed that the imported grass on the pitch has dried up and is giving way to various types of shrubs and long overgrown grasses.

Newly appointed BNS Manager, Ambilike Mwaungulu, said the pitch is not the only part of the stadium that is in poor state.

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“There are many items that need renovation and rehabilitation, starting from the terraces. But I only reported for work last Thursday and I need more time to comment on the state of the stadium.

“I have not yet relocated to Lilongwe from Blantyre but I was at the stadium last week for an inspection of my new workplace. Of course I noticed a lot of items that require renovation and rehabilitation but I will have a full picture of what is on the ground by next week,” Mwaungulu said.

He declined to state when rehabilitation works would be carried out, saying the government was preoccupied with fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We will see if the situation allows us to embark on renovations as soon as possible but the government has priority areas. I will also need to report to the ministry [of Sports, Youth and Culture] and I will be advised on the way forward,” Mwaungulu said.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Symon Mbvundula, said the ministry was waiting for communication from BNS officials.

“We will wait for communication from officials at the stadium and we will take it up from there,” Mbvundula said.

BNS has had a cat-and-mouse relationship with Lilongwe Water Board and Escom who have been disconnecting the stadium because of outstanding bills.

Soccer pundit, Higger Mkandawire, said the government should secure a private operator for the stadium.

“The government must urgently do something about this stadium. Outsourcing it could be a good idea. The ministry could also consider handing the stadium over to Kamuzu Barracks who may have the capacity to take care of it.

“The government must also come up with policies to ensure that government infrastructures as well taken care of. It is a fact that the government has not done well at taking care of its sports infrastructure,” Mkandawire said.

Despite failing to take care of BNS, the government is set to commence construction of one stadium each for Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers at an estimated cost of K7.5 billion in Blantyre.

Previously, the government unveiled plans to build another national stadium in the commercial city which will also cater for indoor games.

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