The debate on Kamuzu Stadiumâ€™s closure has taken a new dimension with Escom United chairperson Fanuel Nkhono blaming the affected five Blantyre teams of failing to improvise another home venue.
â€œBlantyre teams should have themselves to blame for failing to come up with stadia to host their home games like our friends in Lilongwe [Silver, Blue Eagles and Civo],â€ Fanuel Nkhono said in an e-mail response.
He was, however, quick to say Lilongwe teams are not necessarily creative, but they benefited from government institution-funded stadia such as Silver Stadium (Reserve Bank of Malawi), Nankhaka Stadium (Malawi Police Service) and Civo Stadium (Office of the President and Cabinet).
The Nation had separately asked Escom, Mighty Wanderers, Big Bullets, Blantyre United and Azam Tigers how they were affected financially by the closure of the stadium.
The five clubs play all games away in Nchalo, Balaka and Zomba. There is nothing spectacular about these venues that cannot be fixed on existing substandard Blantyre venues such as Escom and BAT grounds, according to Nkhono.
Â â€œMDC ground is gone and BAT ground belongs to lower league. There is nothing special about Balaka and Zomba really. It can be done, but the biggest problem is lack of adequate inflows. Lilongwe clubs have good sponsorship from government and do not really rely on gate collections to survive,â€ he said.
Blantyre Concerned Supporters chairperson Mabvuto Chibambo last week asked government to empower Blantyre teams for them to access loans for building their own homes.
In interviews, Blantyre United administrator Lawson Nakoma and Big Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire admitted that the cost of running the teams has risen due to transport expenses of playing away.
Government closed Kamuzu Stadium fearing for the fansâ€™ security after an inspection by structural engineers revealed serious cracks needing renovations.
CAF envoy Nicholas Musonye recently advocated for complete demolition of the facility. Sports Minister Enoch Chihana has since irked the concerned fans for not re-opening partially the stadium as he promised a month ago.