The yet-to-be completed Hockey Stadium in Blantyre is expected to wear an artificial turf worth over K300 million and floodlights besides having a natural grass pitch.
The equipment will come into the country as an award from the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) in appreciation of Hockey Association of Malawi’s (HAM) dedication to youth development through their partnership with Holland-funded Hockey Dreams Foundation (HDF).
HAM general secretary Chigomezgo Thindwa said the association is racing against time to source over K100 million for the installation of the Astroturf and floodlights as FIH will withdraw the award if the local hockey governing body fails to redeem the equipment by end of 2018.
“We won the award some months ago and we have to redeem it within two years. However, we cannot be allowed to redeem the equipment unless we find enough funds for the installation of the turf. The FIH can as well not give us the award if we fail to complete the stadium project by the end of 2018,” he said.
Thindwa said FIH will only surrender the turf to associations when they are assured that the installation plan is intact and the place where it is to be laid upon is free of dust.
“It is not advisable to install the turf before the stadium construction is complete because the artificial grass will later be damaged when erection of essential structures such as terraces and dressing rooms will be finalising. We, therefore, plead with the corporate world to assist us fast-track the project,” he said.
National hockey team coach Geoffrey Biya, who is also HDF national director, said the Astroturf would help the country to have hosting rights of international competitions.
“The award is something we should not dare to lose because, nowadays, all the prestigious international tournaments are conducted on artificial turfs,” he said. n