Hope for BAT Ground


Broken wooden terraces, bumpy pitch and overgrown grass—BAT
Ground, once considered the stronghold of domestic football, lies desolate like the proverbial valley of dry bones in Blantyre.
Owners of the facility, Malawi National Council of Sports, have in the last two years, been unable to renovate it because they did not have a title deed.
But if latest reports are anything to go by, the long awaited renovations at the ground might start soon.
The Council’s Executive Secretary, George Jana, on Thursday confirmed that they have received the title deeds from the Ministry of Sports.
“In the next two weeks, we should start doing the design of the structure. We had to engage the Department of Buildings [in the government] to re-orient the pitch because, currently, it is [positioned] east-west. We have completed the re-orientation so that the pitch should be northsouth,” Jana said.
He added that they also engaged Blantyre City Council over the removal of a sewer line underneath the ground’s car park.
The ground is home to Southern Region Football Association SRFA)secretariat which manages competitions for Division one and Premier Division teams.
In 2016, the government allocated K30 million towards the ground’s face-lift, but Jana, that time, told the press that they could not repair the stadium when it was not in their name.
The then spokesperson of the Ministry of Sports, Christopher Mbukwa, felt that the council was simply using the issue of the title deed as an excuse.
In 2012, the then Sports Minister, Enoch Chihana, also called for an audit on the facility after noting that the shoddy renovations did not match the amount of money that was pumped in.
SRFA Chairperson, Raphael Humba, on Thursday confirmed that the council has been assuring them of the start of the renovations.
“The assurance from the council is there but we do not know the timelines [for renovations]. But to be honest, teams use the ground due to desperation, otherwise it has not been in good state,” Humba said. Premier Division and Division One teams for SRFA use BAT and Escom grounds.
However, accessibility of Escom Ground to teams hangs in the balance.
Reports have emerged that Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi has earmarked the ground for generator sets, and the pitch has since been cleared.
Escom publicist, Kitty Chingota referred Malawi News to George Mituka, who pushed the ball to another officer, who, was equally not ready to release information on the future of the ground.
SRFA Vice General Secretary, Kingsley Simbeye and Football Association of Malawi President, Walter Nyamilandu, in separate interviews, said the unavailability of Escom Ground could be a big blow to football.
Southern Region teams scramble for venues. The closure of dilapidated Kamuzu Stadium also made matters worse for the teams.

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

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker