President Peter Mutharika Wednesday added weight to the government’s pledge to construct stadiums for Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers saying the project would start once the 2019 National Budget passes.
Mutharika made the remarks after hosting Bullets and Wanderers officials at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.
“My government will always support football. That is why I decided to construct the stadiums for Bullets and Wanderers. I know [that] there are people who are opposed to this development. But these are people who do not wish you well. So, let us ignore them. We cannot build these stadiums in one day. But we will build them, and soon for that matter,” he said.
Mutharika also justified his stand to build stadiums for the two private entities.
“The question of why the government is constructing stadiums to private clubs does not arise. My answer to this criticism is that we are developing football in this country. Besides, these stadiums will always be used and enjoyed by the public,” he said.
Mutharika urged the nation to contribute to the country’s football development.
“I call upon the private sector to support the government in developing football in the country. To managers of football in the country, I have a few words for you. I would like to commend you for cultivating discipline in your supporters. We have seen a remarkable decline in football hooliganism and violence. When it comes to taming violence and disciplining your followers, you are doing far much better than political leaders in this country,” he said.
Wanderers Chairperson, Gift Mkandawire, said they were waiting anxiously for the stadiums as both teams were sailing in troubled financial walers.
“In the [TNM Super] League, we fight for K15 million prize money and yet our budget for a season is over K400 million,” he said.
Bullets Chief Executive Officer, Fleetwood Haiya, who presented the club’s president, Konrad Buckle, said the stadiums would help the clubs generate extra income.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President, Walter Nyamilandu, also asked Mutharika to consider constructing one national stadium in Blantyre.
“Infrastructure remains an integral part of the game but unfortunately, these two clubs do not have their own. By building stadiums for the two teams, you are actually supporting the hub of football in the country. It is also important to consider constructing a national stadium in Blantyre,” he said.
Malawi National Council of Sports acting Executive Secretary, Henry Mereka, Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, Director of Sports, Jameson Ndalama and Director of Football Kinnah Phiri were in attendance.