Malawi national team head coach Kinnah Phiri says he wants the second leg in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers encounter against Ghana on 14 October to be played at Kamuzu Stadium in the commercial city Blantyre rather than Civo Stadium in the capital Lilongwe.
Phiri told Nyasa Times that playing Ghana at Kamuzu Stadium will give the Flames an added advantage because the pitch has proved to be tough to all giants who have visited the venue.
He cited an example of big guns like Egypt, Morocco, DR Congo, Ivory Coast, Zambia and Nigeria who have all been shocked by the Flames at the venue.
“I would prefer us to play Ghana at Kamuzu Stadium rather than Civo Stadium because that pitch has been giving big teams tough time. Kamuzu Stadium is also our slaughtering home to all visiting teams,” said Phiri.
Malawi government closed Kamuzu stadium after engineers established that some of the stands have developed dangerous cracks.
Government said in case Kamuzu Stadium will not be certified fit to host the match, they will close Civo Stadium in Lilongwe for rehabilitation to meet Fifa standards for the match or else Malawi may play Ghana at a neutral ground, possibly Zambia.
Fifa have recommended in recent years that the Kamuzu stadium’s capacity is trimmed from 60,000 to just over 32,000.
Malawi coach however stressed that he will be meeting Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu and Minister of Youth and Sports Enock Chihana to plead with them to stage the high-profile Ghana match in Blantyre.
“Whether the capacity will be trimmed further we do not care but all what we want is to have only this game played at Kamuzu Stadium,” said Phiri.
Principal Secretary from the Ministry of Youth and Sports Justin Saidi told Nyasa Times last Friday that an independent engineer had started assessing the stadium and that by end of this week a final report on its finding will be released.
The Black Stars are responsible for Malawi’s worst ever defeat after posting a 12-0 victory over the Flames in 1962. The Malawians recently lost 0-2 to Ghana in Accra in the first leg.
Kinnah said Malawi had not given up on their chances to qualify for the finals, saying the team is capable of overturning the results in the second leg.
“We have not given up. We have always come down from a defeat in our backyard and managed to qualify. We will sweat blood to get the results we need,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :