Sports

Covid-19 delays Bingu National Stadium maintenance

Renovations of Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe have stalled as contractors cannot import materials from China due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The stadium was undergoing some renovations especially the VIP section but work has stopped as materials for the project cannot be imported.

BNS Operations Manager, MacMillan Mwale, confirmed that renovations had stopped because materials were not available.

“Contractors started fixing new chairs on the VIP stands but they cannot import materials at the moment due to coronavirus. The chairs on the VIP stands were in bad shape and we requested them to fix them. They brought the first consignment which has already been fixed,” Mwale said.

A total of 295 chairs on the VIP section requires maintenance. Apart from renovating the chairs on the VIP stands, management of BNS was also re-planting grass on some parts of the pitch.

Management closed the stadium to give room for renovations. Every month, the facility, through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, gets K4 million for operations but the money is reportedly not enough.

According to an agreement, the Chinese Government is renovating the stadium for three years. The stadium is slowly turning into a white elephant project as it hosted few matches in 2019 in the TNM Super League.

But it hosted the Airtel Top 8 final involving Silver Strikers and Karonga United. BNS was constructed through a concessional loan amounting to 70 million US dollars (about K50 billion) which will be repaid in 20 years. The stadium was opened in 2017 when Malawi under-23 national football team drew 2-2 against Chinese side Guangzhou R&F.

Since then, BNS has hosted few matches involving the Flames against Morocco, Comoros Island, Madagascar and Lesotho.

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