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Sports

Malawi in Region 5 headache

Requires K23 billion to host the games

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Henry Mereka

Malawi National Council of Sports must raise K23 billion to host 2022 African Union Sports Council Region 5 Games.

The amount covers for various activities including administration as well as construction of modern swimming pool as well as renovating Kamuzu Institute for Sports.

Eyebrows have since been raised if Malawi has the capacity to host the biannual developmental games.

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However, sports analysts have since asked Sports Council to consider surrendering the hosting rights to other able countries.

Sports Council Acting Executive Secretary, Henry Mereka, said the amount covers for various activities including construction of an Olympic size swimming pool and indoor facilities.

“We are moving as planned. Hosting of the games on operational side will cost about K3 billion. Of course this excludes sports infrastructure which is the biggest expenditure. We have plans to make the Kamuzu Institute a sports village and one of the facility we want to place is the swimming pool estimated at K20 billion,” he said.

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Mereka said so far, Sports Council has put up in place a plan to make available all infrastructure needed to host the games.

“Designs have been done on this. All the relevant stakeholders have been met on the same,” he said.

Hosting the games is mandatory and should Malawi opt not to host, then AUSC will impose a fine of $800,000 (about K592 million).

Meanwhile, Mereka said a local organising committee will soon be put in place to begin implementing the project.

Currently, Sports Council has earmarked sport codes such as football, netball, volleyball, basketball, judo, athletics, paralympic, lawn tennis, boxing and swimming

MASINA—Even if the money was there, time is
not on our side

However, former Football Association of Malawi (Fam) General Secretary, George Kaudza-Masina, advised Sports Council to revisit its stand.

“Honestly this is a tall order for Malawi. K23 billion is not small considering our current economic situation. Even if the money was there, time is not on our side to renovate the Kamuzu Institute for Sports and construct the swimming pool.

“Otherwise Malawi seem, not to be ready to host the games and the better they made their stand known earlier the better to avoid embarrassing ourselves,” he said.

Another sport analyst, George Chiusiwa, echoed similar statements described the plans as white elephant.

“It is unfortunate that our sports development policy priorities as a nation are largely upside down. Clearly, it doesn’t make any sense for Malawi to first show willingness to host the Regional 5 Games in 2022 when general sports infrastructure is generally poor.

“Where was our government all along when Kamuzu Institute for Sports has been in that sorry state for years? Do we want to make the numerous athletes and visitors who come for such games happy at the expense of our priorities in sports development? Let another country in the region host the games; after all, countries merely show willingness to host when it’s their turn and no country is forced,” he said.

CHIUSIWA—Our sports development policy
priorities as a nation are largely upside down

Chiusiwa said if Malawi is to go ahead with hosting the Regional 5 Games, then Sports Council needs alternatives for the infrastructure to be used.

“Nevertheless, we have so many sports facilities in many districts, cities and towns which are not in good shape and this money could be used for renovation of the same. Some areas in Malawi do not even have basic sports facilities. To be frank, this project can hardly benefit many Malawians. Let the government erect basic sports facilities in districts which do not have any or those with poor quality sports infrastructure,” he said.

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