By Jarson Malowa:
Sports stakeholders have called for speedy completion of the 20,000-seater Zomba Stadium which is under construction.
Zomba City Council (ZCC) closed the then dilapidated Zomba Community Centre in 2015 to pave the way for the construction of the stadium, then earmarked for a capacity of 10,000.
ZCC, which is responsible for inspection of the stadium, told journalists that the project would be completed in two phases.
Since then, construction works have taken place at a snail’s pace.
The first phase involved the construction of a hall, VIP Lounge and two terraces.
However, following demands by Zomba residents, the council, through architect of the stadium Jan-Jaap Sonke of Clinton and Evans, increased the capacity of the stadium from 10,000 to 20,000 people.
Following the development, ZCC Deputy Director of Engineering services, Ian Dolozi, told The Daily Times on August 28 2018 that they expected to complete the first phase by the end of that year.
But The Daily Times has established that the first phase is not yet over.
This has angered football teams and fans in the city.
Zomba-based Red Lions Coach, Nelson Chirwa, said he could have loved if the stadium were completed in time.
“We would like to call upon those who are working on the project to speed it up. We have been affected in many ways, including dwindling gate revenue,” Chirwa said.
Local Government and Rural Development Ministry, through ZCC, who pay the engineers of the project, are funding the project.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Mughabase Mughogho, said they had been releasing funds for the project.
Zomba sports official Rajab Namaraka said sports activities had been affected in the city.
“Initially, they told us that the project would run for a year or a year-and-a half but the project is now into its third year. This is worrisome,” Namaraka said.
Joy Khakona, Zomba-based sports journalist, said it was frustrating covering games away from the city.
“When they changed the design of the stadium, people understood the idea but now people do not know the direction of the project because there is no update from the official,” Khakona said.
ZCC spokesperson, Mercy Chaluma, said they had been receiving complaints over the delay to open the stadium.