Home away from home. Confederation of African Football (CAF) has ordered that the Flames should play their 2022 Fifa World Cup home qualifiers outside the country.
In a letter dated May 2 2021 addressed to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda, which we have seen, the continental football governing body states that the association’s proposed Kamuzu Stadium is not fit to host the qualifiers.
However, FAM says it will “vehemently contest” CAF’s decision.
Reads part of the letter: “Based on the evaluation and evidence, we regret to inform you that the stadium does not meet the set CAF stadium minimum requirements and consequently [it] will not be approved for qualifying matches of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022.
“Therefore, and considering that there are no other CAF approved stadiums for this type of competition in your country, a decision has been taken not to allow your national association to play the upcoming matches in your territory; hence, your federation will have to select approved stadiums in countries of other CAF member associations.
“You are kindly requested to inform CAF of the venue selected abroad for the upcoming qualifiers latest by 7th of May 2021.”
CAF further states that failure to provide the requested information, it will fix the venue in the opponent’s home stadium.
“We emphasise that quality stadiums are fundamental for the development and progress of African football; hence, the regulations and its required compliance will be implemented strictly by CAF,” the letter further reads.
However, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said they will contest CAF’s decision.
He said: “It’s a harsh decision that has been taken without giving us sufficient notice to remedy the situation.
“Some of the reasons that have been cited do not make sense at all like the condition of the artificial turf. The turf is in good playable condition and it hasn’t exceeded its shelf life. “The major requirement to have fixed seats in the stands could have been looked into if government was given sufficient time.
“We are going to appeal to see if we can use Bingu National Stadium instead since the stadium management has been working on the ground.”
Nyamilandu further said playing in a neutral country is a non-starter “and not an option for consideration at this stage”.
“We will also pursue a waiver to still use Kamuzu Stadium for the next match in June subject to necessary renovations being undertaken pending readiness of Bingu Stadium.
“We are hoping that CAF will be flexible and understanding to the environment we operate in,” added the FAM president.
The Flames are in the same group with Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Mozambique.
Malawi’s first home game of 2022 World Cup qualifiers is against Mozambique between 11 and 14 and will face Ivory Coast between September 1 and 4.
The Flames will then host Cameroon between October 10 and 12.