The country’s hockey fraternity was all smiles when the long-awaited hockey stadium was finally commissioned at the Kamuzu Upper Stadium in Blantyre Sunday.
The facility has the capacity to host international matches and cost over K300 million.
It has an artificial turf, a fence and floodlights which will allow teams to play even at night.
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Sports Minister Ulemu Msungama said he was pleased with the development.
“This stadium will contribute to the development of hockey in Malawi. As government, we will ensure that we complete construction of the remaining structures such as dressing rooms.
“We will give all the support that is needed for this facility to be complete. Commissioning of the stadium has given us encouragement to continue mobilizing resources for sports development.
“It is also pleasing to note that the local hockey fraternity is committed to developing the game on its own. We will therefore do our best to help those who know how to get started,” Msungama said.
Africa Hockey Federation President Seif Ahmad, who was a special guest at the event, advised local authorities to take good care of the facility for it to last.
“Taking care of the stadium will help the facilities to live up to their lifespan. The artificial turf should be cleaned regularly and used only for hockey, and not other social activities. Players should also use recommended outfits when on the turf,” Ahmad said.
Hockey Association of Malawi General Secretary, Lameck Fiwa, said they will form a committee to oversee its operations.
“We will work with the Malawi National Council of Sports to take good care of this stadium. One of our plans is that access to the facility should be that anyone using it should pay.
“The money will be used by the stadium management committee to ensure that the stadium is in good condition at all times. We will strictly follow guidelines from the stadium’s contractor to achieve our goals,” Fiwa said.
The stadium is expected to host international matches next year when sporting activities resume in full.
Hockey has also been affected by countries’ suspension of sport due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.