President Lazarus Chakwera has urged Zomba City Council (ZCC) and Ministry of Local Government to complete the construction and expansion of Zomba Stadium which missed its October 2020 deadline.
Speaking at Sanjika Palace on Tuesday when he hosted Zomba City Council councillors and secretariat staff, Chakwera said he would like to see the stadium once again hosting high-profile matches.
He said: “I want that stadium completed so that one day I can watch a match there.”
DEC Construction Limited started constructing the 20 000-capacity stadium, which used to be home to TNM Super League outfit Red Lions, in 2017.
But the project has faced several hiccups which have delayed its completion, thereby starving Zomba-based football fans of action as ZCC loses gate revenue as Red Lions shifted to Balaka Stadium, about 85 kilometres.
Some of the challenges the stadium faced include Covid-19 pandemic which led to the contractor to cut the number of workers at the site.
Eastern Region Police also arrested 11 workers suspected of theft of building materials for the stadium.
However, DEC Construction Limited withdrew the case after noting that it was affecting the work.
At some point the stadium construction, pegged at K4.6 billion, also faced funding challenges.
But Minister of Local Government Lingson Belekanyama assured the councillors that funding is available for the project’s completion.
During the meeting, the councillors shared their development plans with the President.
Zomba chief executive officer Charles Thombozi revealed plans to build a hotel, a supermarket, a three-storey market, which will be the first of its kind in Malawi and construction of over 30 shops.
He said so far Zomba City Council has constructed a dumpsite complete with a fence and gates, and a recycling plant which processes the waste.
ZCC mayor Benson Bulla requested the Chakwera administration to officially make Zomba the capital of the Eastern Region.