By Mabvuto Kambuwe
The sports fraternity has every reason to smile as three crucial sports projects are progressing well despite the country facing various challenges brought about by the Covid pandemic.
The three projects, located in Lilongwe and Blantyre, will help to increase the number of match venues for various sports disciplines.
In Blantyre, the government is constructing stadiums for Mighty Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets which were promised by former president Peter Mutharika during the 2019 presidential election campaign. The indoor sports complex is one of the government’s long standing projects and is being constructed adjacent to Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
Bullets’ stadium is being constructed at Moneymen along Chikwawa Road while Wanderers’ facility is at Kanjedza in the commercial city. The news will certainly be met with joy from the two Blantyre giants who have millions of supporters across the country.
Despite being the most successful and popular teams in the country, Bullets and Nomads have been without homes since their establishment in the 1960s. Wanderers General Secretary Victor Maunde said they are pleased with the progress of construction.
“We are impressed with the progress on the ground. Apart from generating resources for the club, the stadium will also help us to save other costs,” Maunde said. Wanderers have been struggling financially after Be Forward Limited declined to renew the contract at the end of last year. Director of Sports in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Jameson Ndalama said the progress on the construction of the indoor sports complex was also impressive.
“We are satisfied with the progress that has been made so far. It is our hope that the contractor will beat the deadline. We needed this facility as soon as yesterday,” Ndalama said.
Once completed, the facility will have a state-of-the-art court that would be ideal for games such as netball, basketball and volleyball.
Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) General Secretary Carol Bapu hailed the government for fulfilling its promise.
“This is great news to us. We are happy with the development. We thank the government for fulfilling it’s promise. The indoor court will go a long way in the development of our game. We are working hard to improve the standards of netball in Malawi and the court will make a difference. We needed such a facility to achieve some of our goals like hosting the world’s top netball teams,” Bapu said.
The indoor facility was earmarked for Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre by the previous Democratic Progressive Party administration but the Tonse Alliance government relocated it to Lilongwe.
In the 2019/2020 national budget, K200 million was allocated for preliminary works. The construction of the facility is timely as Malawi is expected to host the African Union Régional Five Games in Lilongwe next year.
In préparation for the Games, the government is renovating Kamuzu Institute for Sports in the capital.