Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has put its foot down by ordering its affiliate, Super League of Malawi (Sulom), not to fix any match at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The association’s order comes two days after the Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Henry Mussa, insisted that the facility will, after month-long renovations, remain open.
But Fam, through its General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, has written Sulom to exempt the stadium from games so as to pave way for the government’s renovations.
“Let us work with the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development to ensure that the repairs are done within a reasonable time frame and football can safely resume at the stadium,”Gunda stated in the letter.
The GS copied the letter to the Director of Sports, Jameson Ndalama, Malawi National Council of Sports Executive Secretary, George Jana, Sulom General Secretary, Williams Banda, and National Referees Association Chairperson, Patrick Kapanga.
Gunda has since advised Southern Region teams to use alternative venues for home matches while waiting for the renovations.
However, Banda was elusive when asked for a reaction to Fam’s order, saying he needs to consult teams.
In an interview, Gunda could neither confirm nor deny issuing the order to Sulom.
“I am not going to say anything on that issue… whether concerning our expectations or anything about it. It is a government facility and the owners are speaking. So let the government speak,” he said.
A source in Sulom said Fam is unhappy with the minister’s order, saying the government is politicising the issue.
During Labour Day commemorations in Blantyre on Monday, Mussa said, following President Peter Mutharika’s intervention, the government will provide resources for the maintenance of the facility.
Among other things, Mussa said the stadium’s artificial turf will be replaced by natural grass.
The minister’s comments came days after Fam declared the facility as unfit for hosting Super League games, to spark protests from Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers fans.
The fans, largely unhappy that they will be denied the loot from gate revenue, have threatened to stage mass demonstrations against the closure of the stadium.
It is also reported that the planned demonstrations have been called off following Mussa’s sentiments.
Bullets Chairperson, Noel Lipipa, has since said that the team’s management will discuss the issue, adding that they were confused by the conflicting remarks from the government and Fam.
Following a joint assessment and inspection by Sulom last month, Fam said the stadium’s toilets, tunnels, covered stands and cordoned off open terraces need urgent attention.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues