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Caf to inspect Bingu National Stadium again

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Casper Jangale

Confederation of African Football officials are scheduled to inspect Bingu National Stadium this month ahead of upcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers slated for June.

This means the government, owners of the stadium, is racing against time to ensure that all renovations are done in time before the inspection.

The continental football governing body recommended that the facility should, among other things, have a movable players’ tunnel.

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Compliance Manager Casper Jangale said the country should prepare for another inspection starting this month.

“The government is capable of finalising everything but time is running out,” Jangale said.

The Flames were seeded from the preliminary round of the 2023 Afcon qualifiers as they will join from the group stages in June.

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If the stadium will not be certified fit to host international matches, the Flames will continue to play home matches in other countries.

Malawi played all their home World Cup qualifiers at Orlando Stadium in South Africa after BNS was declared unfit to host international matches.

The Lilongwe-based facility’s manager Ambilike Mwaungulu said there was no need to panic as all shortfalls had been rectified.

“We are optimistic that the facility will pass the test. The movable tunnel was already purchased and is in the country. We will continue working on the playing surface so that it should be in perfect condition,’’ Mwaungulu said.

The facility failed two previous inspections in August and September last year due to poor conditions.

Delays in completing the renovations led to the facility missing inspection dates in October.

Playing the World Cup qualifiers away from home meant that Fam was forced to spend more than what it budgeted for.

The country’s football governing body spent over K400 million on the qualifiers.

City of Johannesburg, who own Orlando Stadium, charged R158,000 (about K10.5 million) per match.

In addition, Fam also spent about K27 million on air tickets, besides hiring Cosafa for match organisation.

Last year, Caf gave 13 mandatory standards for African stadia to be approved for domestic and international matches.

The conditions include a high quality pitch, floodlights, teams and officials’ benches, individual seats, dressing rooms, sanitary facilities for spectators, stadium safety and fire certificate, media facilities and hospitals around the venue.

It is also mandatory for the stadia to have spacious and quality dressing rooms and other facilities to ensure that players and officials carry out their activities safely.

Africa Union Sports Council Region 5 officials might have been given a clue on the condition of the stadium when they toured it recently.

They recommended a facelift for the facility to host the Region 5 Games in December.

The stadium is expected to host the Under-17 Cosafa Youth Championship finals which will be used as qualifiers for the African Youth Championship.

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