World football governing body, Fifa, has approved the construction of a $500 000 (about K518 million) community stadium in Nsanje.
The stadium will be built under the Fifa Foundation as relief support towards communities affected by Cyclone Idai in 2019 and Cyclone Ana in 2021.
The news is likely to excite the football fraternity in the Lower Shire Valley district as they are now assured of a stadium.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda confirmed Fifa’s approval of the project yesterday, saying this follows a request they made to consider alleviating the plight of the victims.
He said this led to Fifa sending a special mission led by Nigerian football legend Yakubu Aygibeni in 2019 and officers from the Fifa Foundation 2020 to inspect the affected areas.
Said Gunda: “The approval marks the successful completion of assessments that were made by Fifa that included vetting the project proposal for Disaster Relief Support in the Lower Shire.
“To this end, FAM will be engaging Nsanje District Council to co-design the stadium with the view to facilitating a competitive bidding process that will take place through a tender that will be advertised in due course.
“It is our expectation that construction of the stadium will start early next year once FAM has completed the due process of onboarding the project with Fifa.”
Nsanje Distrct Football Committee chairperson Kenason Jimu said he was excited with the news.
He said: “This is something that football lovers in Nsanje have been looking forward to for many years.
“We thank Fifa for its gesture as well as FAM leadership for its efforts to wards the cause.”
Jimu said the stadium will motivate players in the district.
Nsanje district sports officer Sheriff Malunga was also all smiles.
“We were part of the process when Fifa sent a team in 2019 to appreciate our challenges and that the efforts have come to fruition makes us really happy.
“When completed, the facility will play a big role in developing football in the district,” he said.
On his part, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the stadium is envisioned to be a multipurpose facility.
He said: “We are extremely delighted to add value to the community of Nsanje through the construction of a stadium.
“Apart from providing recreation and entertainment, the stadium will be able to host competitive matches. This should spur growth of football in the Lower Shire so that the local clubs should bounce back and compete in the Super League.”