TNM Super League side Karonga United has expressed readiness to fulfil its FDH Bank Cup Round-of-32 match against Mighty Wanderers at Mzuzu Stadium on Saturday.
In the course of the week, Fam had announced that the match between Karonga and Mighty Wanderers had been moved from Karonga to Mzuzu.
Karonga had earlier refused to play in Mzuzu, insisting that their home ground was fit to host the match.
However, the club’s Chairperson Mathews Tulombolombo said they welcome Fam’s decision to move the match to Mzuzu.
“Of course it is disappointing to learn that we will not play at home but we need to comply what the authorities have decided. We will go to Mzuzu and I am confident that we will enjoy massive support in Mzuzu,” Tulombolombo said.
Fam Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said Karonga Stadium was not in good condition to host the match.
“This has nothing to do with Wanderers’ call for us to consider changing the venue. We have established that Karonga Stadium is not in good condition to host an elite match as per the Fam Club Licensing regulations and Covid Football Re-Start Guidelines after it was vandalised on Sunday,” Zakazaka said.
Among others, Zakazaka said the stadium’s perimeter fence and main access gates were vandalised.
“This would make it difficult for match organisers to protect players and technical officials. Control of access into the stadium and enforcement of Covid preventive measures would also be difficult under such circumstances. So with the match just four days away, we are of the view that there is no time for stadium owners to work on the damaged structures and complete the exercise in time for the match.
“Such an exercise would require re-inspection and re-certification as per Fam Club Licensing regulations. It is against this background that, as guided by Article 8.1 of the FDH Bank Cup Rules and Regulations, we have fixed the match at Mzuzu Stadium on Saturday. All other protocols for the match will procced as arranged,” Gunda said.
On Tuesday, Wanderers supporters’ committee General Secretary Samuel Mponda said they had written Fam and Malawi National Council of Sports about what happens at Karonga Stadium during matches.
“We asked for a neutral venue because every team that visits Karonga comes back complaining. Bullets complained, Wanderers complained and now it is Silver. This means that playing at Karonga Stadium is risky,” Mponda said.
Karonga have beaten Wanderers in both home and away Super League matches this season.