Government has resolved to bar Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets from conducting training sessions at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre in a bid to preserve the little life in the facility’s artificial turf.
The resolution comes barely a fortnight after Football Association of Malawi (FAM) said it would ask government to close the facility because its artificial turf’s life-span expired last year.
The football governing body argues that the turf, which was funded by Fifa, is a risk to the players’ health.
In an interview on Saturday, Kamuzu Stadium manager Ambilike Mwaungulu hoped that banning training will protect the pitch from deterioration.
Wanderers and Bullets have been training at the stadium where they were paying K10 000 per day.
“We do understand that the training sessions were generating funds for us, but we feel that the pitch deserves a breather despite the fact the artificial turf has already passed its lifespan. The little life that it still has can be saved for competitive matches,” Mwaungulu said.
The stadium manager, however, disclosed that teams that have competitive games at the stadium will be given a day to train.
“If Silver Strikers, for example, have a match, they will both be given a chance, at least once, to train for free. This has been the trend over the years and we will maintain it as a way of fairness,” he said.
Bullets general secretary Kelvin Moyo, who claimed to have not received any communication regarding the ban, said training at the stadium helped players to be more familiar with the pitch.
“We use the stadium as our home ground so training there helped the players to be more used to it. But if the stadium owners feel that it’s a necessary measure, then we have to abide by their will,” he said.
Moyo further said that his team has also been using the MDC Stadium.
“We used to alternate between MDC and Kamuzu stadiums depending on the venue of our upcoming game. For example, if we are going to play at Nankhaka Stadium, then we train at MDC because the pitches are almost the same. But with the ban at Kamuzu Stadium it means we will likely be training at MDC,” he said.
Wanderers team manager Steve Madeira said they have received communication on the Kamuzu Stadium ban.
“We were told three weeks ago that the pitch will only be used for competitive matches once or twice a week. We are in talks with the Football Association of Malawi [FAM] so that we can be using the MDC Stadium for training,” he said.
Asked where the club is training currently as it prepares for the Carlsberg Cup final against Silver Strikers next weekend, Madeira was elusive: “This week is crucial being a Carlsberg Cup final week, ask me next week after the final and I will tell you where we will be training.”