There is a looming match venue crisis for Blantyre-based teams following Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa’s directive to close Kamuzu Stadium.
FAM has two weeks to decide where the newly-launched Airtel Top 8 matches involving Blantyre teams will be played following Kamuzu Stadium’s unvailability.
Super League kicks off next month and Blantyre-based teams also have to find alternatives.
Mussa last week reiterated that the stadium will not be available for matches due to its dilapidated state.
The minister said government intends to demolish the country’s oldest stadium and construct a new one although he did not specify when the project will start.
The closure of the stadium will hugely affect Blantyre-based Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers, who cannot play high profile fixtures at other available venues in the city—MDC Stadium in Chilomoni and Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda said FAM is better placed to comment since it is carrying out stadium inspection under club licensing system.
“Venue of matches is based on what clubs indicate for home matches. Currently, FAM is inspecting stadiums which clubs have chosen. As Sulom, we will only know which venues will be used once FAM is through with the process,” he said.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said they were aware of the match venues challenge, including the effect of the closure of Kamuzu Stadium.
He said: “We are aware of what government, the stadium owners, said through the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, about closing Kamuzu Stadium. It’s their facility and we have to follow what they have said considering the condition of the stadium, which indeed is not fit for matches. That is why we have the club licensing team up and down inspecting all stadiums.
“They will come up with a comprehensive report after the process and that will give us a clear picture of which venues are eligible because I believe, it is not only Kamuzu Stadium that is affected. That report will give us direction on the solution to not only Blantyre match venues challenge, but also the other stadiums.”
With Kamuzu Stadium closed, the Blantyre derby between Bullets and Wanderers and other high profile matches involving other big clubs from Lilongwe and Mzuzu such as Silver Strikers, Moyale Barracks and champions Kamuzu Barracks, will have to be played elsewhere.
Bullets and Wanderers officials said the closure of the stadium will result in more expenses as they have to play home games outside Blantyre.
Apart from the revenue, inaccessibility of Kamuzu Stadium also deny the clubs’ supporters from watching their home matches.
“We were hugely affected financially when we had no access to the stadium a couple of years ago and we had to use Balaka Stadium for our home matches,” said Nomads vice-chairperson Gift Mkandawire.