The 2019 Cosafa Under-17 Local Organising Committee (LOC) has settled for Blantyre to host the youth championship slated for September.
FAM has set up the LOC, chaired by the association’s first vice-president James Mwenda with competitions subcommittee chairperson Jabbar Alide as his deputy.
From the LOC other operational committees will also be established for various lines such as marketing, media, hospitality, logistics, security, refereeing, technical and volunteers.
Mwenda said they are ready for the task of delivering a successful tournament.
“We are ready. On my part, it is exciting that I am heading the LOC. I am part of Cosafa competitions subcommittee and it will be a pleasure to organise a competition which Malawi is hosting,” he said.
Mwenda thanked government for giving FAM a green light to host the event.
“It’s an honour to host the tournament. Remember when we last hosted the event in 2002 in Blantyre, we won the championship. This is also a chance for Malawi to retain it,” he said.
But there were doubts on whether Blantyre has suitable infrastructure to host the tournament.
The partial closure of Chileka International Airport is also another set-back for the hosting the event.
But Mwenda dismissed the fears, saying they had done their homework before picking the commercial city.
“For a city to host a youth tournament, you only need one stadium. Blantyre has a number of stadiums which are available,” he said.
“The closure of Chileka Airport is not an issue as it is expected to reopen before the tournament kicks off in September. We have been assured about this by the Department of Civil Aviation,” he said.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said they are targeting Kamuzu Stadium and Chiwembe Technical Centre’s Mpira Stadium for the tournament.
“The key aspect is the planning. With Kamuzu Stadium and Chiwembe, we have what it takes to host. That’s why in the resolutions we have made it clear that what we urgently need to do is work on the perimeter fence at Mpira Stadium,” he said.
Malawi is expected to share the cost of hosting the event with Cosafa, according to Gunda.
“There are commitments that Cosafa will undertake to finance and there are areas for the host nation. As a host like any other participating member, we will incur costs in scouting, and training of the team and general administrative planning and preparations.
“The subcommittees will need to meet and plan and execute assignments and also cover some defined costs prescribed by the regulations. I cannot mention figures as work of putting together the budget is being undertaken,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cosafa deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda, who is responsible for competitions, is expected to inspect the host city’s facilities next month.