Government has snubbed sites which Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers identified for the construction of their stadia in Blantyre as per President Peter Mutharika’s recent directive.
Two days after the President’s directive, the teams addressed a press conference in Blantyre where they announced that they had identified lands for the projects in Ngumbe near Kameza Roundabout along Zalewa Road and Chichiri, respectively.
But Weekend Nation has established that Blantyre City Council (BCC), Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) and the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, who were tasked with the project by the President, have identified sites in Soche and Moneymen area.
While confirming that BCC had indeed identified sites for the projects, the council’s public relations manager Anthony Kasunda could not be drawn to comment further, saying: “For now, it is still privileged information until the process is finalised.”
Sports Council executive secretary George Jana also said he could not comment as they were still waiting for feedback from authorities.
However, a source privy to the discussions confided in Weekend Nation that Bullets have been allocated a site near Soche Technical College which was initially earmarked for the Bingu National Stadium before it was shifted to Lilongwe.
“But there are some few technicalities that need to be sorted out before both sites can be cleared for the projects. Otherwise, a recommendation has already been made to the authorities,” said the source.
Both Bullets and Wanderers confirmed the developments and said they had no problems with the upshot.
Said Bullets chief executive officer Fleetwood Haiya: “What I can say is that we initially identified sites….both us and Wanderers. But a beggar cannot be a chooser. So, as long as [the Site] serves the purpose, we have no problem.
“There has been good progress so far and we are expecting that very soon, they [government] will inform us formally about the developments.”
On his part, Nomads general secretary Mike Butao said: “We are aware of the developments and we were told that the land that we identified
does not belong to [Blantyre] City Council and, therefore, it would have posed a challenge.
“Nevertheless, in just over a week, we have had four meetings already and it demonstrates the level of commitment from government to ensure that the projects are implemented in the shortest time possible.”
During a joint press conference last month, Bullets unveiled a 25 000-seater stadium design which they hope to be constructed at the proposed site.
Haiya said they already had a design because they were in the process of doing the same within the next five years as part of their commercialisation drive.
Wanderers main supporters committee secretary Samuel Mponda said they hope that something tangible will be visible on the site in the next three months.
Bullets and Wanderers have been in existence for over 50 years, but for all their success and popularity they do not have stadiums.