Uncertainty surrounds Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) plans of hosting Guinea at the newly-built Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on March 23 after the Ministry of Sports and Culture said the facility is not ready.
The Flames travel to Guinea for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group L qualifier on March 23 and a week later host the West Africans in the return leg.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the association would love to have the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier played at the new venue.
But Ministry of Sports and Culture spokesperson Christopher Mbukwa said the ministry was not in a position to say when the facility would be ready.
“Up to now it is not confirmed when the stadium will be opened because we are still testing the stadium’s facility whether they were built to required standards,” Mbukwa said in an interview yesterday.
“Our building department is still testing the facility. They have not told us when they are going to complete the process. But they say they don’t want to rush things. We also don’t want to push them so that we have a facility that is of the required standards.”
On FAM’s wishes to have the game played at the stadium, Mbukwa said a decision would be made at a later stage.
“We are aware of that, but as of now I can say a decision has not yet been made,” he said.
“But may be as we go along, we can have a clear picture if the stadium will be ready by then.”
Nyamilandu said it would be in the interest of Confederation of African Football (CAF) to have the game played at the new stadium.
“Given a choice, the new stadium would be our preference assuming it would be ready by then. It would also be in the interest of CAF to have the match played at the state-of-art stadium,” he said in an interview yesterday.
“We are yet to receive a progress update on the completion of the new stadium. If it’s available we would not hesitate to shift the match to Bingu National Stadium.”
Nyamilandu said they would have to inform CAF on the changes.
“As hosts, we are allowed to change the venue and notify all concerned parties as per rules and regulations of the tournament,” he said.
If the stadium is not ready by then, FAM has no choice but to have the game played at the dilapidated Kamuzu Stadium which was already declared unfit to host matches by CAF and Fifa.