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Freddy escape

TO BE FURTHER ASSESSED—The Chiwembe Stadium pitch - Picture courtesy of Fam Media

Casper Jangale

Relief is the prevalent emotion across the sports fraternity as Cyclone Freddy has spared a number of sports facilities in the Southern Region.

The cyclone has killed over 400 people and damaged various infrastructure across the region including roads, bridges and buildings.

This raised fears that sports facilities across the region would also be affected.

However, Times Sport has established that all sports facilities in the region are safe despite the persistent rainfall that fell from Saturday to Wednesday.

For instance, Chiwembe Township’s Mpira Stadium in Blantyre which is one of the venues that was in the spotlight after a Fam Women’s National Championship was postponed due to its waterlogged pitch as a result of the cyclone, is reportedly in good condition.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Club Licencing Manager Casper Jangale said their primary assessment indicates that the facility is in good condition.

“The game was postponed as a result of a waterlogged pitch. Despite having a drainage system, the pitch was overwhelmed as such it could not clear all the water in time.

“There is no water on the pitch now which gives us the confidence that everything is okay. We will do a proper assessment once the rains stop but from the look of things everything is fine,” Jangale said.

The country’s soccer mecca Kamuzu Stadium was also spared from damage, according to its manager Irene Mkoko.

Similarly, Balaka Stadium is reported to be in good condition.

“It is bad that Cyclone Freddy has killed people and damaged homes but our facility has not been affected. For now, what we are doing is to improve its surface ahead of the new season,” Balaka Stadium manager Fatsa Douglas.

Reports from Mulanje, which is one of the worst affected districts, suggest that Mulanje Stadium is also safe.

Mulanje District Council Chief Administrative Officer Alexander Mwale said the facility has survived the cyclone.

“So far the stands and fences are fine. As for the pitch, we just want to see how the drainage system has worked in absorbing the water. Otherwise everything seems to be okay,” Mwale said.

The four facilities are expected to host TNM Super League action this season, with Zomba Stadium construction yet to be fully completed.

Fam recently inspected match facilities across the country to ascertain their readiness to host games.

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