Zomba Mayor Davie Maunde has appealed for calm from the general public on the opening of Zomba Stadium.
Maunde said he appreciates the fact that the stadium’s opening is way beyond schedule but asked for more time as they want to give the public a facility worth its name.
The city father said after inspecting construction works on Wednesday, he was left with the impression that the stadium would be of international standards.
“I am very impressed with the progress of the construction works. We need to have an infrastructure fit for international standards. We are therefore liaising with the central government to make sure that everything goes according to plan. We will have a facility befitting the status of a city,” he said.
Construction of the facility started in 2017 with demolition of what used to be called Zomba Community Centre to pave way for the new stadium.
A contractor was then identified and the stadium design changed from a 10,000 seater capacity to 20,000.
However, the project has been moving at a snail’s pace, prompting demands from sports lovers for the facility to be opened.
The K4 billion project was due for completion on October 5 2020.
Managing Director for contractor DEC Construction Dan Chale said they expect to complete construction in December.
“It takes time for central government to release funds for a project of this nature. Therefore, I cannot give any assurance apart from asking that I should be given up to December to complete the second phase of this project. We therefore had to bring on board another architect.
“We have some little resources that will be used to complete construction. We are therefore appealing to our client to expedite payment which we are expecting. We submitted a certificate detailing the status of the project but it is yet to be honoured,” he said.
Chale, however, said there is tremendous progress at the site.
“Works are going on well. The fence is done together with two spectator stands, the VIP inclusive. Meanwhile we are working on the pitch and by next week or so, we are going to start planting grass on it,” he said.
A month ago, Football Association of Malawi Club Licencing Manager, Casper Jangale, inspected the facility and said it was not fit for a football match.
He therefore ordered Zomba City Council to ask the contractor to do more on the pitch.
Southern Region Football Association Vice Treasurer Rajab Namaraka said they are eagerly waiting for the facility’s opening.
“We will continue asking for a speedy completion of this project. This is because sports involves thousands of people whose lives have been affected with the delays in finishing this project,” he said.
Earlier, the Ministry of Local Government said it was in need of K2.4 billion to complete the project.
The stadium is expected to have a football pitch, a running track, and volleyball and netball courts.