The answer is no. Confederation of African Football (CAF) has declared Bingu National Stadium (BNS) unfit to host 2022 World Cup qualifiers, a development that means the Flames will play their home matches outside the country.
However, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it will appeal the continental football governing body’s decision.
A statement issued yesterday by FAM, reads in part: “FAM would like to inform football stakeholders that on Monday 2nd August 2021, the Confederation of African Football inspected Bingu National Stadium as part of the stadium’s assessment for homologation for the Fifa 2022 Qatar World Cup African qualifiers.
“Based on the report of the inspector [Kabelo Keorapetse Bosilong], CAF has informed us that the stadium does not meet the set CAF stadium minimum requirements and, consequently, will not be approved.”
According to CAF, the main reason for not approving the stadium is the pitch surface as it was not in playable condition on the day of inspection.
CAF stated earlier that for a pitch to pass the test, it must be green, smooth, levelled and in perfect condition for a top-level football match.
FAM has since been advised to select a venue among the stadiums approved by CAF in neighbouring countries for Flames’ home matches and must communicate by August 9.
“However, FAM has resolved to appeal against the CAF decision and will request for another assessment in the next 14 days.
“The association believes that tremendous progress has been made on improving the pitch and that it will be ready for use for domestic and international fixtures by the 21st of August 2021. This was even shared with the inspector who had a first hand experience of the work being done on the pitch.
“The association would, therefore, like to assure its stakeholders that it will try its level best to ensure that the Malawi national football team plays its home Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying matches in the country.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports has given us assurance that it is committed to ensuring that necessary resources are made available to complete the outstanding works on the pitch.
“FAM is disappointed with the development as it had high hopes of the facility passing the test considering the significant efforts and resources that Malawi Government and FAM put in place to ensure that the facility is homologated,” the statement further reads.”
In an interview yesterday, FAM competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka said the appeal “will be filed immediately”.
He said FAM will write CAF to arrange another inspection on August 22.
The other conditions were that there must be two covered benches of high quality material at high level, each with seating room for at least 14 persons and positioned at least five metres from the touchline and one covered bench of high quality material at pitch level with a capacity of four match officials.
In May this year, CAF also declared Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre unfit to host international matches.
Ironically, Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers have also chosen BNS for their home matches in upcoming continental competitions.