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Fingers crossed

Fam hoping for the best on Bingu National Stadium

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Casper Jangale

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is keeping fingers crossed on Confederation of African Football (Caf)’s decision on whether Bingu National Stadium (BNS) is fit to host international matches.

Caf envoy Kabelo Keorapetse Hubert Bosilong Thursday flew into the country from South Africa to inspect the facility ahead of World Cup qualifiers scheduled to kick off next month.

While at the stadium, Bosilong inspected various elements including floodlights, dressing rooms and media facilities.

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Fam Compliance Manager Casper Jangale said the expert returned to the Rainbow Nation after the inspection.

”We are very optimistic that BNS will be given the green light to host international matches. Everything is in good condition but let us wait for the decision from Caf,” Jangale said.

Caf is expected to give updates on match venues ahead of the qualifiers slated for September, October and November.

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The Flames are in Group D of the global showpiece alongside Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Mozambique.

The qualifiers were postponed in June due to the Covid pandemic and lack of proper match venues in several African countries.

The inspection exercise which Caf carried out at the time revealed that some countries, including Malawi, did not have venues suitable for hosting such high-profile matches.

This meant that such countries’ teams were in danger of playing their home matches abroad at neutral venues.

Sports analyst George Kaudza-Masina said he was also optimistic that BNS would be given the greenlight to host matches.

“Let us keep waiting for a decision from Caf but I believe the stadium will pass the test,” Kaudza-Masina said.

One of the conditions for certifying a stadium fit to host international matches include that the field of play must be green, smooth, leveled and in perfect condition for a top-level football match.

Another condition is that there must be two covered benches of high quality material at high level, each with sitting room for at least 14 persons and positioned at least five meters from the touchline and one covered bench of high quality material at pitch level with sitting room for four match officials.

Malawi’s representatives in Caf club competitions, Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers, have also earmarked the facility for hosting their matches.

Bullets will play in the Champions League while Silver will compete in the Confederation Cup.

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