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From soccer venue to fish market

Sad tale of Lilongwe Community Ground

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One of the oldest football pitches in the country, Lilongwe Community Centre Ground has been turned into a fresh fish market and a bus depot as a precaution measure due coronavirus pandemic.

The facility, which Lilongwe City Council owns, though in an abandoned state, will now be home to fresh fish vendors temporarily and depot for Salima buses to decongest the main market in the Capital City.

Reports suggest that the vendors and minibuses will be outside. The football pitch will be protected.

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Lilongwe City Council, Public Relations Officer, Tamara Chafunya, claimed she was locked in a meeting after several attempts.

Situated at the hub of the Capital City, the facility has been in dilapidated condition for many years as LL City Council turned down bidders in 2017.

It was once considered as one of the most convenient venues for all the sporting activities because of its positioning. Fans from areas such as Kawale, Mchesi, Area 23, Biwi, Falls and other surrounding areas, then used to watch Super League matches at the venue.

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Apart from football pitch, the venue had netball, basketball and volleyball courts. Previously, it was a home of the defunct Model Sisters, Barsley FC, Epac among others. In 2017, the Council floated to sell some of its properties but no winner was identified as they claimed that the bidders were offering low prices. Football Association of Malawi (Fam) was one of the bidders then.

However, the Council was reluctant to maintain the facility despite the region having more TNM Super League teams. Due to scarcity of the good pitches, some teams such as relegated Masters Security and Kamuzu Barracks were using Dedza Stadium as their home ground.

Failure to maintain the facility means LL City was sitting on untapped gold as ground owners are entitled to 25 percent cut for every TNM Super League and cup game.

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