Nyasa Big Bullets have expressed relief following Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) decision to fix their Champions League preliminary home game against South Africa’s AmaZulu FC at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe.
A fixture released by the continental football governing body shows that the People’s Team will host AmaZulu on September 18 while the first leg will be staged at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on September 10.
The relief comes in the wake of CAF’s earlier indication to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) that the ban on BNS would extend to continental club tournaments.
Bullets chief executive officer (CEO) Suzgo Nyirenda said they are delighted with the development considering recent indications that they were not guaranteed playing on home soil.
He said: “We submitted BNS, but following the disturbing news about its banning, we were not sure whether we would play there.
“The release of the official fixture, therefore, gives us hope. Nevertheless, we’ll not sit on our laurels. We need to have our inspection team for the stadium.
“We are also waiting to hear from FAM on whether CAF will send another team of inspectors to assess the pitch. So, we need to be on guard.”
The People’s Team CEO also said it would be costly to play abroad in terms of travel, allowances and other logistics
“Besides that, playing at home gives the host team a psychological boost.”
Nyirenda also said that they have asked AmaZulu if they can agree on an arrangement to cover each other’s costs.
“We have asked them if we can agree to have the host team take care of the expenses of the visiting team and we are still waiting for their response.
“If they do not agree then we will do it on our own and send an advance team to Durban,” he said.
But FAM licensing and compliance manager Casper Jangale said while the communication from CAF shows that the match is at BNS, the arrangement might not be final.
“Hopefully, they will not change their stand and that when they do, it should be Mpira Stadium [in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre] because that is what was submitted as an alternative and our recent discussions have been based on that,” he said.
CAF banned BNS from hosting Flames’ 2022 World Cup qualifiers last month on the basis that the pitch was not in playable condition.