Some football analysts have faulted Lilongwe City Council for relocating fish market to one of the popular football venues, Lilongwe Community Centre Ground.
The Council relocated fish vendors to the facility as a temporary measure to decongest the main market due to Covid-19.
Earlier, the City Council indicated that the fish vendors would not tamper with the pitch. But after a visit to the place yesterday, it was discovered that the whole football pitch has been demarcated.
Renowned soccer analyst George Kaudza-Masina said the decision was not good.
“Everybody was thinking that the facility will be upgraded but I was shocked to see the vendors erecting benches. It is very shameful. The damage will never be repaired and this will be the end of the facility. There are several places which could have been turned into a market instead of this place which has football history,” Masina said.
The Lilongwe Community Ground has been in dilapidated condition for many years. In 2017, the City Council wanted to outsource the facility but the bidders were rejected claiming the offers were on the lower side.
Another analyst George Chiusiwa said the cost of maintaining the facility would be huge.
“We should not expect the vendors to go back to their places and we should expect things to worsen. The market facilities are already squeezed. In the long term, it has been in that state for long time, the cost of maintaining the facility would be so huge and it would be difficult,” he said.
When contacted Sunday, the Council’s Director of Commerce and Trade, Genscher M’bwabwa said some vendors have encroached the place.
“We know some people have just encroached the place but they will be removed. Our plan was for fish vendors but it is sad that others have taken advantage of it,” he said.
The facility was considered as one of the most convenient venues for all sporting activities because of its positioning. But it has been idle for over five years due to its condition. Failure to maintain the facility resulted in loss of revenue as ground owners are entitled to 25 percent cut from every TNM Super League and cup game.
Apart from football, the venue was also popular for boxing activities, netball and volleyball.