The Ministry of Youth and Sports has said it will do everything to make sure that the Malawi National Football Team plays all its home games in the World Cup qualifiers at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) and not outside Malawi borders as was anticipated.
The inspection team from the Confederations of African Football (CAF) declared that Malawi as nation had no conducive stadium to host both CAF tournaments and World Cup qualifiers. The development saw the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) pressing a panic button as it instantly engaged the Zambian FA to allow Malawi play its home matches in Zambia.
The Malawi FA preferred Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre to Bingu National Stadium in its submission to CAF as BNS was so idle since it hosted an international friendly during independence celebrations some years ago.
The stadium which was funded and constructed with a loan from the Chinese government during the era of former President Bingu wa Mutharika, was side-lined by the Malawi FA until it was turned into an isolation centre amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Relief came when CAF announced adjustments of the World Cup qualifiers also because of the same Covid-19 pandemic. The adjustments gave Malawi a chance to work on its stadia and submit one that could be approved by CAF to allow it have its home matches played on home soil.
Speaking to the local media, Minister of Youth and Sports, Ulemu Msungama, said government cannot smile on the fact that Malawi plays its home games outside its borders.
“We have sourced some funds to work on the Bingu National Stadium to allow our national team play its home games there. We cannot allow our team to play its home matches in Zambia as we have been hearing. As a Ministry and as government, we will do everything possible to have those matches played in Malawi.
“For this to materialise, we have identified a company that will help us in upgrading the playing pitch. As I speak now, the stadium is in good shape but we need to work on it so that the inspectors have nothing to complain.
“I wish to assure all Malawians that the Flames will play their games on the home soil and not in Zambia as was reported by some quarters,” Msungama said.
Msungama added that all efforts will be made to make sure that the stadium will be functional even after the World Cup qualifiers.
Malawi is in a group comprising Cameroon, Mozambique and Ivory Coast.
Commenting on the matter, analyst Dr George Kaudza Masina welcomed the development saying it never felt good for the Flames to play their home matches in Zambia.
“It shows that government is committed to see the national team play home matches on the home soil. I think government has also noted that it will be costly for the team to play home matches outside Malawi.
“Honestly, Kamuzu Stadium is a life hazard and Malawians including FAM should accept that it’s now time to make use of the Bingu National Stadium unlike the old and historic Kamuzu Stadium,” remarked Kaudza Masina.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :