Minister of Youth and Sports, Enock Chihana, has challenged the country’s traditional soccer rivals Mighty Wanderers and Big Bullets to construct their own stadiums and stop relying on Kamuzu Stadium as their home ground.
The minister has since pledged that government was ready to offer them free land in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre so that they construct their football stadiums.
Chihana said Friday during the 2012-2013 TNM Super League prize presentation ceremony held at Bingu International Conference Centre in the capital, Lilongwe.
The minister wondered why the two Blantyre based soccer powerhouses why, despite being among the few oldest football clubs in the country, they have failed to construct their own stadiums.
“Big Bullets and Wanderers, you started long time ago, you have had different management but it is surprising that up to now you cannot even afford a stadium.
“l have widely travelled but l have never heard anywhere else even in Zambia that Zanaco is claiming Independence Stadium to be their home ground, no! Kamuzu Stadium is a Malawi Government facility and it belongs to the government of Malawi,” said Chihana, a mid ululation from the jam packed magnificent international conference centre.
“I am making a 100 per cent commitment, if you want a place to build a stadium l will give you even tomorrow, no problem! It is high time you commercialized your clubs, talk to companies like TNM, Carlsberg they can help you,” challenged Chihana, described by many as the worst sports minister in modern Malawi.
He told Malawians to stop blaming anyone but themselves for the country’s lack of good sports facilities.
“We have to blame ourselves for this because you and l, Joyce Banda, Bingu [RIP] we are all Malawians and all the facilities we are using today were built by Kamuzu Banda [RIP] long ago,” he said.
Chihana said it was unfortunate that some facilities like Kamuzu Institute Youth of Sports and Lilongwe Community Centre Ground were which used to host big matches in the past like the CECAFA Cup have been neglected and have become unusable.
General Secretary Higger Mkandawire welcomed the minister’s remarks but was quick to remind him that even the former sports minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda made the same pledge which did not bore any fruits.
“This is not the first time a minister has made such a pledge, Vuwa Kaunda did the same and pledged us Blantyre Youth Centre and the Walter Nyamilandu [Football Association President] promised us BAT Ground as well,” recalled Mkandawire.
He, however, said they will follow up the matter with the minister using proper procedure for the way forward “because it is the People’s Team desire to have their own stadium.”
When Nyasa Times tried to seek their views the club’s General Secretary David Kanyenda’s phone was not reachable.
But the team is on record having said plans were already in the pipeline to construct their own stadium and land was already identified.
The Lali-Lubani Road boys had been organizing fundraising activities as one way of soliciting funds for the construction of their stadium.
Prior to the December 2011 elections held in Salima, in his manifesto Football Association of Malawi President Walter Nyamilandu also bemoaned lack of own stadiums for the two rival clubs.
He then promised the two crowd-pulling clubs that he would ensure that they have their own stadiums once he assumed power.
Nyamilandu, who was then campaigning for his third term, promised Bullets that he would talk to government to release BAT Ground so that it becomes theirs and MDC Stadium for the Nomads.
But two years down the line, Nyamilandu has not fulfilled his pledges and the two clubs are still looking up to him.
He could not be reached on his phones when Nyasa Times wanted to know how far he has gone with the issue if at all he started it.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :