Advertisement
Sports

Giants want Kamuzu Stadium re-opened

Advertisement

BLANTYRE giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers have called on government to re-open Kamuzu Stadium as arrangements are being made to commence renovation works.

The stadium has been allocated K1.5 billion for renovations after Football Association of Malawi (Fam) declared it unfit to host games this season in its present condition.

The artificial turf was fixed to replace natural grass in 2008 and its lifespan expired some two years ago. The terraces were also condemned several years ago by world soccer-governing body, Fifa, after they developed cracks due to years of neglect.

Advertisement

But government cordoned off the stands and reduced the capacity while allowing both local and international matches to continue being hosted there.

However, an inspection by Fam before the season kicked off confirmed concerns that both the artificial turf and the stands were a threat to the well-being of players and spectators alike, hence the need to close the stadium to pave way for extensive renovations.

The closure meant that there would be no Super League action in the commercial city since the smaller match venues like BAT and Escom grounds are also in a sorry state and only host lower league and social games. Other alternative venues like Surestream (MDC) and Chiwembe were also not readily available.

Advertisement

This compelled teams like Premier Bet Wizards and Blantyre United to book Mulanje Park Stadium as their home ground. Azam Tigers and Nyasa Big Bullets went further down South to Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo, Chikwawa District while Be Forward Wanderers sought refuge at Balaka Stadium.

Threats of unspecified action by supporters from both Bullets and Wanderers to force government to re-open Kamuzu Stadium did not yield any results. Government pacified the soccer-mad nation that it would embark on a massive rehabilitation exercise of the country’s most celebrated sports arena in due course.

But while news coming from Capital Hill that K1.5 billion has been set aside for rehabilitation of the dilapidated stadium may be a relief to both Blantyre-based teams and soccer lovers, Bullets and Wanderers are asking government to open the stadium for use while arranging for the renovations to commence.

Wanderers General Secretary, Mike Butao, said it is important for government to expidite renovations of the facility as teams from the commercial city are spending a lot of money on travelling to fulfil fixtures in Mulanje, Balaka and Nchalo. Butao suggested that it would be better for government to reopen the facility until the end of the first round so that Blantyre teams can cut on travel expenses.

“We are waiting impatiently for the re-opening of the stadium. We are spending a lot of money because of playing outside Blantyre. As a club, we would have loved government to re-open it so that we can use it until the end of the first round,” Butao said.

Bullets General Secretary, Albert Chigoga also described the allocation of funds for Kamuzu Stadium’s rehabilitation as a welcome development. “This is great news for us. We want to use the facility while it is in good condition,” Chigoga said.

Minister of Labour, Youth Sports and Manpower Development, Henry Mussa said in Parliament on Thursday that the money would carter for the renovations of the stands and replacing the artificial turf at the facility.

“We have allocated K1.5 billion which we consider adequate. Firstly, to replace the artificial turf and also to re-inforce the stands. As you are aware, 58 years have gone by since the stadium was constructed and it is a risk to users in its present condition,” Mussa said.

The Minister also disclosed that in the long-term, government is planning to construct a national stadium in Blantyre, saying funds for the design have also been allocated. But Mussa could not disclose when renovations would start at the crumbling sports facility.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Advertisement
Tags
Show More
Advertisement

Related Articles

Back to top button
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker