President Lazarus Chakwera says he expects the Multi Purpose Indoor Sports Complex project in Lilongwe to be completed on schedule, stressing that he won’t entertain any excuses.
The President said this yesterday in Area 48 when he laid a foundation stone for a facility with a seating capacity of 2 500.
The project, estimated to cost K7.7 billion, is expected to be completed in August this year.
Said Chakwera: “Let me commend the contractor [China Railway 20 Bureau Group] for the progress made this far.
“I will be back to check if this [project] will be done within the duration and I will not entertain any excuses.”
The President also said he expects the project to be done to perfection.
“It should not just be a functional building, but beautiful as well. The practice of erecting ugly buildings needs to stop,” he said.
Chakwera said his administration’s vision is to commercialise sports so that the country is able to produce world-class legends.
“Our vision is to produce teams that win and not just participate. We can’t achieve that without investing and when it comes to investment, you the private sector must also do your part.”
The President further said it is befitting that the structure will be named after netball coach Griffin ‘Zagallo’ Saenda because he was an achiever on the global stage.
“This is in honour of this legend who proved that Malawi is a winning team,” he said.
Earlier on, Chakwera said although his visit had been dubbed a launch, “I did not come here to launch anything”.
He said: “As you can see, construction has already been happening for sometime. I did not come here to primarily lay a foundation stone because Malawians said goodbye to the era of seeing presidents laying stones on empty plots and even to this day they remain empty.
“So my real [coming today] is to inspect this project because I want to see these projects being done under my administration completed on time without compromising on quality.”
Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama said the contractor has assured him of completing the project within schedule.
He said: “All being equal, it will be completed in August 2021 and the contractor has so far done 15 percent.
“It will also be the first of its kind in the country and it will host international sports tournaments, promote sports tourism and expose local athletes to facilities of international standards.”
The minister also said the sports complex is among the three priority projects the others being the Olympic-size swimming pool in Lilongwe and Mzuzu Youth Centre.
Malawi National Council of Sports board chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise said the facility when completed, will transform the sports landscape.
“Your Excellency, this facility will accord Malawians an opportunity of playing various sporting activities in the state-of-the-art indoor facility.
“On the other hand, Malawian athletes have always struggled playing at the international scene because they were exposed to modern infrastructure which they were never exposed to here at home,” he said.
The original plan was to have the facility in the capital city but the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party regime shifted it to Blantyre.
However, when the Tonse Alliance administration was voted to power on June 23 last year, it resolved to revert the project to Lilongwe on grounds that the commercial city is saturated with sports infrastructure projects.