In a move to ease the problem of sports infrastructure, Blantyre City Council (BCC) has said it is ready to offer land to interested institutions and individuals to develop stadiums.
The council’s director of planning Costly Chanza on Wednesday said land is already available at Soche Hill and Chigumula Township for the projects.
He said, funds permitting, the council would embark on the projects itself.
“The thing is that in other cities such as Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba stadiums are run by city councils while here in Blantyre the only stadium that we have [Kamuzu] is run by government.
“And, as a city council, we would also want to have adequate facilities for residents such as stadiums, but we might not have funding and as our contribution, we are ready to provide land be it to the private sector or individuals to develop,” Chanza explained.
He also said apart from offering land, the council could assist the prospective developer in terms of planning.
“Our aim is to encourage the private sector to come on board as long as the facilities are there,” he said.
However, Chanza could not be drawn to disclose the estimated cost for the projects.
Former BCC chief executive officer Timothy Chirwa Wednesday said there was no particular reason for the council not to explore the idea of constructing its own stadium in the past.
“We just did not put our minds to it, but suffice to say there was a time when we wanted to construct a municipal stadium where there is now Robin’s Park, but the plan could not be implemented probably due to lack of funds,” said Chirwa.
The development comes in the wake of the recent situation whereby Blantyre-based football teams were forced to play outside the city following the closure of the Kamuzu Stadium, a development that saw teams and their supporters spending more on other costs such as transport.
Nomads chairperson George Chamangwana and his Bullets counterpart Malinda Chinyama said they would pursue the issue vigorously.
“We already unveiled our plans to construct a mini-stadium and, therefore, the offer from the BCC is timely and welcome,” said Chamangwana.
On his part, Chinyama said: “It is a wonderful idea. All along, we did not know that there is that provision and we are going to take that channel.
“Already, we had plans to develop our own stadium and as the first step, we applied for land from Malawi Housing Corporation, but if there is indeed that provision [by the council] then we might as well explore that.”