The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has thrown out a Football Association of Malawi (FAM) plea for the continental football governing body to reconsider its decision to ban Bingu National Stadium (BNS) from hosting 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The development means that FAM will proceed with its plans to have the Flames play their home matches in the World Cup qualifiers in South Africa.
In a letter to FAM, CAF states that there is not much time to work on the facility ahead of the Flames’ first home qualifier against Mozambique’s Mambas scheduled for September 7.
Reads the letter in part: “Considering that the match day is in less than 30 days, CAF is not in a position to delay any further the confirmation of the match venue for the visiting team nor grant an approval based on the current state of the stadium.
“The selection of the venue, respective date and time of the match, has to be set well in advance. As you know, this has a direct impact on the preparation of match logistics and operations by all the concerned parties.
“Furthermore, 14th of July 2021 was the set deadline for the round of CAF stadiums assessment for homologation for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022-African qualifiers. The pre-inspection report of BNS that your federation provided to CAF on this date showed that the pitch was not in a playable conditions for a Fifa/CAF international match.”
The letter states that as part of further assessment to the stadium, CAF decided to organise an inspection visit.
“Considering the above and due to the urgency of the matter, the stadium ban appeal of FAM is not accepted and the decision in the CAF letter dated 5 August 2021 is upheld; hence, your federation will have to select an approved stadium in a country of another CAF member association.
“You are therefore requested to urgently inform CAF latest by August 9 2021, the stadium selected for your next qualifying match for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022. The date and time previously fixed by the CAF are maintained,” the letter adds.
Reacting to the appeal rejection, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said: “This is not what we expected, but we have no choice. We should just bite the bullet and be serious with fixing the pitch.”
He said the solace is that CAF is sending experts at the end of this month to help work on the field to be ready for the next match in October.
“We have a chance of hosting the remaining matches at BNS if the pitch is well attended to. This is our best chance to redeem ourselves.” n