Fans petition JB over Kamuzu Stadium,wants Sports Minister Chihana axed

Concerned Football Supporters in Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre have petitioned the President Joyce Banda on the delays by Sports Minister Enock Chihana to re-open Kamuzu Stadium which was closed some months ago due to safety and security fears pending renovations.

Chihana assured supporters of the six Blantyre-based Super League team the re-opening of the stadium within a space of 2-4 weeks after an intensive meeting on October 24th, 2012 at the stadium.

However, the supporters led by their chairman Mabvuto Chibambo have expressed dissatisfaction on the way the ministry of Sports is handling the whole process arguing nothing is happening on the ground.

In their two page-petitions to the President, dated November 13, 2012 and signed by Mabvuto Chibambo, Duncan Chikutumbwe and Hassan Mahome, the concerned supporters have requested for an audience with the Head of State to voice out their grievances.

Official shows Sports Minister Chihana the cracks at Kamuzu Stadium. Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

“We as concerned football supporters of Blantyre, we write to request your office to grant us permission to meet you and discuss about Kamuzu Stadium,” reads the petition in part.

It goes on to say  that they have waited enough  to see their only stadium in the commercial city of Malawi to start hosting games within the agreed period  yet  nothing on the ground as far as sealing the affected stands is concerned.

“We have been trying to get some updates from his Ministry but what we are told is that the stadium will not be re-opened soon because of the reasons known to Hon. Chihana and Mr. Saidi,” reads the petition.

The supporters’ have also  stressed to the President that Blantyre based soccer fans  cannot continue spending their hard earning cash to travel to places like Balaka, Nchalo to follow their teams because it was expensive.

They have also emphasized that basing on the fact that Blantyre based teams do not have sponsorship it was difficult to play their matches outside Blantyre because they do not have enough funds to meet the costs.

“We are also looking at a lot of people who benefits from Kamuzu Stadium when the stadium is hosting games a lot of people sell their products and generate income to support the families in different ways but due to the closure of the stadium these people are struggling and that’s totally doing opposite to your wish Madam President, of promoting the small businesses in Malawi,” it reads.

The soccer fanatics are also reminding the President that all teams in Lilongwe except Epac F.C have sponsors in the name of government yet Blantyre based teams were dumped by government owned companies.

Demonstrations

The concerned Football Supporters have told the President in the petition that they are planning to stage mass demonstrations on 28th November, 2012 in the city of Blantyre basing on what they will discuss with the first citizen.

“We are planning to have mass Demonstrations on 28th November, 2012 in the city of Blantyre but before we have those demos we agreed to meet you first and if we will fail to agree then that’s when we will go ahead with our plans to have Demos,” reads sixth paragraph of the petition.

Fire Chihana

The supporters have also requested the President to fire the Minister of Youth and Sports together with Justin Saidi because they feel the two are lacking justice by telling the nation that the concerned Football Supporters was used by certain political party.

The concerned supporters have quashed the minister’s sentiment that procurement processes was delaying the closure of Kamuzu Stadium to be re-opened.

“This time around he is talking about procurement processes which is delaying the closure of Kamuzu Stadium, the time he was promising us can we say he didn’t know about those procurement processes and time he ordered his ministry officials to start renovating Civo stadium with about K10m was that procurement procedures followed?

“And if it was followed how come that it took just a short time to start renovating the stadium yet the Kamuzu Stadium which needs just K5m is facing those obstacles,” the petition concludes.

Football’s world governing body, Fifa, have on several occasions sent inspectors to the oldest stadium in Malawi.

Fifa have recommended in recent years that the stadium’s capacity is trimmed from 60,000 to just over 32,000.

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