Local football powerhouses Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers stadia have not been included as priority projects in Tonse Alliance government’s maiden National Budget.
Presenting the budget at Parliament in Lilongwe on Friday, Finance Minister Felix Mlusu mentioned the indoor netball court, Mzuzu Youth Centre and rehabilitation of Kamuzu Institute for Sports.
He said: “Government will commence constructions of indoor netball court and Mzuzu Youth Centre. Rehabilitation of Kamuzu Institute for Sports will also continue.”
It remains to be seen if the projects are included in the actual budget.
And delivering the State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Friday at Parliament, President Lazarus Chaweka also committed to construct the indoor netball complex and a sports academy, among others.
The President also said his government would embark on a nationwide project to rehabilitate existing youth centres as well as constructing sports centres.
He said: Simultaneously, 800 school coaches will be trained in various sports disciplines; sports competitions in all disciplines will be revived at all levels and 500 schools that teach physical education will receive support.”
The stadium projects were allocated K1.6 billion (K800 million each) in the 2019/20 annulled budget.
Wanderers general secretary Victor Maunde on Friday said he needed to consult before commenting while Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga was not available for comment.
Nevertheless, the stadia projects were already awarded to Chinese construction companies by the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.
The project for Bullets, estimated to cost K3.8 billion, was awarded to China Civil Engineering while Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company was awarded the Nomads’ stadium project estimated to cost K3.6 billion.
Days after his appointment, Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama pledged government’s commitment to construct the two stadia, but insisted that the issue of ownership would not be guaranteed and that the facilities would be under Malawi National Council of Sports.
He also faulted the previous regime of committing to build stadia for the two clubs, saying the move was more of a political gimmick.
Said the minister then: “These are privately-owned entities and government should not have committed to build stadia for them.
“Perhaps helping them to secure land so that they could build their own stadia could have been ideal.”
Immediate past president Peter Mutharika pledged to construct the stadia for the two teams during the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections campaign period.