By Ronald Mpaso:
TNM Super League side Tigers FC has said it will continue playing its home games at Mulanje Park Stadium in the 2019 season despite Football Association of Malawi’s (Fam) pledge to complete upgrading works at Blantyre’s Chiwembe Stadium.
Fam got an approval from world football governing body Fifa to upgrade Chiwembe into a fully fledged stadium under the new Fifa Forward Project.
The development will see the match venue hosting high-profile games with a capacity of 10,000.
Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, indicated that the stadium would be ready to host games in the 2019 season with upgrading works set to be completed in March.
But Tigers Technical Adviser, Robin Alufandika, said while he is pleased with the project, it would be difficult to abandon Mulanje.
Tigers played their 2018 season home games in the tea growing district and turned the stadium into a fortress where they collected most of the points that helped them remain in the top flight.
Alufandika said the team developed cordial ties with the community in Mulanje and would not want to abandon them.
“We enjoyed our time in Mulanje and we had great support there. We will go back to re-evaluate the situation on the ground and, if all is well there, we will definitely go back,” he said.
But Alufandika commended Fam for upgrading the stadium, saying it will help alleviate the shortage of match venues in Blantyre.
The commercial city only has Kamuzu Stadium as its dependable match facility capable of hosting big games.
According to Gunda, Chiwembe Stadium’s upgrading is involving construction of stands, a car park and changing rooms.
“There was an ambitious capacity of 15,000. Then there was a structural number that was coming up to about 12,000. But, at the end of the day, we should be talking of a realistic capacity of 10,000,” he was quoted as saying in Fam’s activity report.
In the project, member associations that qualify receive $1.2 million annually over a four-year period for projects and football development and management.
Malawi was the first African country to qualify for the project and requested infrastructure development which was approved by Fifa’s development committee
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