By Isaac Salima:
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president Walter Nyamilandu has said they are considering seeking approval from Fifa and Confederation of African Football (Caf) to allow them to be hosting competitive international matches at Mpira Stadium.
Nyamilandu was commenting after Fam’s Mpira Stadium last Sunday successfully hosted a friendly international game between Malawi and Zimbabwe that was played behind closed doors.
In October last year the Cosafa Men’s Under-17 Championship was also played at the facility.
Nyamilandu said the stadium has proven its potential to host high profile games.
“It is a magnificent stadium that offers comfort for the fans and a good playing surface for the team. It also has state of the art facilities for the teams and officials during match day. No wonder it has earned the praise of Cosafa and it is being singled out by many as a fantastic stadium,”
“We are actually planning to seek approval from Caf and Fifa so that we can host under 17, under 20 and women’s national teams,” Nyamilandu said.
He said they were also pleased that the facility successfully hosted a match against Zimbabwe without compromising Covid-19 safety protocols.
Nyamilandu further dispelled rumours that they opted to host the Flames’ game at the venue after officials at Kamuzu stadium demanded K2 million for the game to be played at the country’s soccer mecca.
“We opted for Chiwembe because it was easy to implement Covid-19 safety measures as the processes are already embedded with national team camping on-site,” he said.
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said the stadium can get Caf/Fifa approval if it is about hosting of matches of lesser magnitude or games without supporters.
“Otherwise, patronised national team matches can hardly be suitable for such a tiny venue. But under 17 matches can fit the Mpira Stadium size,” said the former Fam General Secretary.
The 10,000 seater Mpira Stadium was opened for games last year after being upgraded at a cost of about K1 billion.
Fifa and Caf, among others considers safety and security management, maximum safe capacity of a stadium, structural and technical measures and emergency services of the facility when approving stadiums.