Domestic football powerhouses Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers have unveiled plans to lease from government the ailing Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The People’s Team chief executive officer (CEO) Fleetwood Haiya said this during a press conference held in Blantyre yesterday.
Said Haiya: “We are in talks with relevant authorities to acquire land to construct our own stadium as well as a training ground and by next month, we should have made notable progress and we will inform you [the media] accordingly.
“In the same vein, we have agreed with our friends [Wanderers] to have a consortium and come up with a joint proposal to lease Kamuzu Stadium [in the short-term] so that we can be managing it for an agreed period.”
The Bullets CEO said they have already held preliminary discussions with their age-old rivals, but the actual discussions are scheduled to start this weekend and they are hoping to present the proposal the coming week.
“The idea is that we should be managing the stadium and be responsible for the costs of maintenance and whatever government proposes in terms of lease charges, be it monthly or annually, then we will be paying them. This is part of our plans to run the clubs as commercial entities and we hope government will approve it,” he said.
Haiya said apart from hosting matches at the stadium, the two clubs feel they can generate funding through other marketing drives such as advertising billboards.
On his part, Wanderers general secretary Mike Butao said if the proposal is approved, it would take away the burden from government of managing the facility.
“You look at the current state of the stadium whereby government struggles to maintain it, including frequent disconnection of water and electricity, meaning that they are unable to run they should give us a chance and see how it goes.it profitably and we are saying
“How to structure the actual proposal will be done during the discussions that we are going to have,” he said.
The two teams said the arrangement is not new, citing Italy where cross-town rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan share the same facility through the same arrangement.
Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development director of sports Jameson Ndalama yesterday said everything will depend on how the two teams will formulate their proposal.
“It is something that can work, but let us wait for the joint proposal to see if it is workable before taking it up with the authorities,” he said.
Soccer analyst George Kaudza-Masina described it as a good idea, saying the facility has been neglected for a long time.
“But much as the idea sounds good and sweet to the ear, we hope both teams have the capacity to maintain the facility because talking is one thing while implementation is a another thing altogether.
“Consideration should also be taken into account on why the stadium was built in the first place so as not to disadvantage other stakeholders. Kamuzu Stadium is a community entity and being in the hands of the two teams might also be viewed as monopolising a pubic entity.
“Otherwise, it is a brilliant idea as experience from Kamuzu and Bingu stadiums have shown that government alone cannot manage the facilities, as such other stakeholders that have the capacity to do it, should be given a chance,” he said.
Bullets and Wanderers were formed in the 1967 and 1962 respectively, but for over 50, they have had no stadia.