Fingers are pointing at Football Association of Malawi (Fam) for sticking to dilapidated Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre as a venue for international matches when Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe is a viable option.
The domestic football fraternity got a rude awakening this week after Confederation of African Football (Caf) declared the facility unfit to host upcoming 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers next month.
However, some football commentators said the association could have listed BNS as an alternative venue for the Flames.
Sports analyst George Chiusiwa said Fam should be blamed for deliberately shunning BNS since it was opened in 2017.
“This is unacceptable, inconceivable and painful to hear when you knew the implications of sticking to Kamuzu Stadium when the modern high class and superior BNS opened its doors in 2017,” Chiusiwa said.
“Why Fam didn’t list BNS to Caf as the stadium to host Flames matches nobody knows. It was only wise and proper for Fam to submit BNS papers to the continental football governing body for consideration. The football public needs an explanation from Fam. This is total childishness and carelessness,” he said.
Football consultant Kevin Moyo made similar sentiments.
“The FA knows the new requirements on stadia by Caf and still submits Kamuzu Stadium,” he said.
But Fam General Secretary Alfred Gunda said the association will engage government.
“You will note that BNS had been used for isolation at the peak of Covid as such, in the time of submission we could not submit it,” he said.
BNS Manager Ambilike Mwaungulu refused to comment on the matter.
Since it was opened, BNS has only hosted few international matches for Flames including a goal-less draw against Morocco and a 1-0 victory over Comoros Islands.
Following the ban on Kamuzu Stadium, the Flames might play home matches in neighbouring Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The Caf assessment condemned Kamuzu Stadium after the game against Uganda and the association was fined $6,000 (about K4.7million).
The Flames, who are in Group B of the World Cup qualifiers, will begin their campaign away against giants Cameroon between June 5 and 8 before back-to-back home fixtures against Mozambique and Ivory Coast between June 11 and 14 and September 1 and 4, respectively.
Few days later, the Flames will face Ivory Coast away between September 5 and 8 before hosting Cameroon between October 6 and 9. Malawi will wrap up the World Cup qualifiers with an away fixture against Mozambique between October 10 and 12.
Senegal, Mali, eSwatini, Seychelles, Namibia and Niger are among countries that will play their World Cup qualifiers away from home.