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Nervous wait

As Caf inspects Bingu National Stadium

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Gomezgani Zakazaka

The football fraternity is anxiously waiting for the outcome of a Confederation of African Football (Caf) inspection Bingu National Stadium (BNS) ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

Caf stadium expert Ivan Lengwe Mumba from Zambia conducted the inspection at the facility Thursday.

The inspection happened as the Flames are expected to host Ethiopia in Group D of the qualifiers between May 30 and June 14 at a venue yet to be identified.

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Communications and Competitions Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said the inspection was done in three phases.

Zakazaka said the first phase involved inspection of the facility during the day including dressing rooms, referees room, meeting room, media facilities, medical facilities, control room, parking areas, broadcasting areas and safety and security.

He said the second phase, which was conducted in the afternoon, involved training facilities at Silver Stadium and Nankhaka.

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“The evening inspection involved checking of floodlights at BNS. The inspector will send his report tonight (yesterday) and Caf will make a decision by this weekend, latest Monday,” Zakazaka said.

Ministry of Youth and Sports officials, including Principal Secretary Oliver Kumbambe and Director of Sports Jameson Ndalama, were present during the inspection.

Kumbambe said he was optimistic that the facility would pass the test.

“We believe we have done what is required on the stadium. It is our hope that we will watch Ethiopia on June 2 in this stadium. We are just keeping our fingers crossed,” Kumbambe said.

Last year, the government provided K50 million for the facility’s renovations.

Out of the amount, K15 million was for the purchase of chairs for the media section, dressing rooms and other compartments.

Fifa banned BNS from hosting Grade A international matches after it failed to meet minimum requirements last year.

Sports analyst George Kaudza Masina said chances are high that the facility would be approved.

“Let us just keep our fingers crossed but I am sure we will get the approval,” Kaudza- Masina said.

The Flames played all their home World Cup qualifier matcheas at a borrowed Orlando Stadium in South Africa.

By playing away from home, Fam spent over K400 million on World Cup qualifiers which included R158,000 (about K10.5 million) for using the stadium per game .

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