The long-awaited artificial turf for Blantyre’s Kamuzu Stadium is finally in the country, after delays to collect it from Beira in Mozambique.
Kamuzu Stadium Manager, Ambilike Mwaungulu, said the turf arrived on Saturday and would be delivered to the stadium either today or tomorrow after clearing procedures.
Mwaungulu said the contractor indicated that the turf would take two weeks to be ready for use at the soccer Mecca.
“We are relieved that, at last, the turf is in the country. If the contractor is not disturbed by rains, the turf should be ready for use in the next two weeks,” he said.
The turf arrived at Beira port late last year but the government took time in collecting it, forcing Mozambican authorities to give Lilongwe a 60-day ultimatum for its collection.
The arrival of the turf will be good news to Blantyre-based Super League teams who were forced to play most of their home games in Mulanje, Chikwawa and Balaka due to the closure of the giant stadium.
The closure of the stadium also resulted in all international matches and Blantyre derbies being played in Lilongwe.
Be Forward Wanderers General Secretary, Mike Butao, said the re-opening of the stadium for the forthcoming season would help Blantyre-based teams and supporters to reduce costs of travelling long distances for home matches.
“Running football in Malawi is an expensive venture and it does not help when you travel long distances to play home games. So, the re-opening of the stadium will be a big relief,” Butao said.
Azam Tigers Technical Advisor, Robin Alufandika, said his team struggled because of travel costs last season, and described the arrival of the turf as a great relief.
“We expect to save on travel costs with the expected re-opening of Kamuzu Stadium. It would be good to play there once again,” Alufandika said.
The government has spent about K400 million in buying the turf and bringing it into the country.
Director of Sports in the Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development, Jameson Ndalama, confirmed the arrival of the turf.
“Two trucks are in Blantyre now, with the clearing agent expected to hand it over to the contractor at the stadium. Just after the handover, the installation process will begin. You can talk to Mr Jossam Namwera (Football Association of Malawi Turf Manager) for details because he has been in touch with the agent,” Ndalama said.
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