Bingu National Stadium (BNS) owners Ministry of Youth and Sports say they are open to recommendations on the grass best suited for the pitch.
Chinese firm Ahnui Foreign Construction Company which constructed the facility recommended Cynodon Dectylon species also known as Bermuda grass.
However, the grass has from time to time proved not suitable for the country’s climatic conditions as well as being prone to pests such as worms.
There have been suggestions that the stadium’s pitch could do well with other types of grass, including the indegenious one.
Dwangwa’s Chitowe Stadium manager Zilani Chiona, whose pitch has always scored highly on Football Association of Malawi (FAM) club licensing assessment, suggested that Ministry of Sports try other varieties at the facility.
He said: “For us we have three varieties of grass. We have the local variety and two other exported varieties. All the three have advantages and disadvantages. The local one is suitable to the country’s climatic conditions. It easily covers the area and is easy to manage. The only challenge is that it requires adequate watering in dry season.
“The exported variety is good because it can survive up to three weeks without watering. But the problem is that it takes time to cover the area. In the case of Bingu National Stadium where they want the pitch in good condition within a short period, I would recommend the indigenous Malawian grass.”
He, however, advised the ministry to engage agriculturists from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources to advise on the stadium’s pitch condition.
“Here we have these experts who we work with to maintain the stadium. We also attend sessions on how to take care of the grass. They advise us on which species of grass to use and which pesticides or fertilisers to apply,” he said.
Director of sports Jameson Ndalama said the ministry is open to suggestions and will review the situation.
“I am not sure the reason why imported grass was chosen, but we are open to the new suggestions which may help to sustain the pitch in good condition,” he said.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda, while welcoming suggestions to change the grass, said maintenance of the pitch is key.
“At the end of the day it is not just about the grass itself. It is also about the maintenance plan of the pitch. What plan does the stadium owners have to ensure the pitch is in good condition at all times?
“It is a simple issue; sometimes you might have the same kind of flowers with your neighbour, but yet yours are wilting just because you are not taking good care of them.”
Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) blacklisted BNS from hosting 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers after a CAF inspector found the pitch not in good condition to host high-profile matches.
An appeal by FAM and government has been rejected as well .
In rejecting the appeal, CAF said there was no time to rehabilitate the pitch to playable condition within 30 days.