Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda says the country stands to benefit in a number of ways by hosting the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier between Ethiopia and Egypt next month.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports has accepted a request from Ethiopia Football Federation (EFF), made through Football Association of Malawi (FAM) on May 10, to host Egypt’s Pharaohs at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
The Ethiopian FA proposed BNS as its alternative venue for the match after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned their national stadium from hosting the Afcon qualifiers for failing to meet some minimum requirements.
Said the minister in an interview yesterday: “It is a positive development for Malawi as we stand to gain in terms of forex since the Ethiopian FA will cater for the costs of hiring the stadium.
“Both teams and their supporters will also bring forex. There might also be people from neighbouring countries coming to watch the match.
“Besides, our technical staff will have a chance to watch the Egyptians ahead of their meetings.”
FAM competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka yesterday said government has given them the go-ahead to discuss terms and conditions of hosting the match at BNS with the Ethiopian FA.
He said: “It is good for Malawi to host such a high-profile match as we strive to earn CAF’s confidence on BNS being fit to host matches and getting permanent certification.”
Meanwhile, CAF has set conditions for BNS to host the match, citing that the stadium’s management should ensure that the pitch is in perfect condition.
A letter from CAF to EFF, dated May 12 2023, which approves BNS to host the match, reads in part: “Please note that the approved stadium will be set as the venue to host match day 2 Group D Ethiopia versus Egypt match related to the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’ Ivoire 2023.
“Notwithstanding the above, the Bingu National Stadium management must ensure that the pitch in the field of play area, is well maintained and in perfect condition to host your match.”
The Walyas of Ethiopia will host the Pharaohs at BNS a few days after facing the Flames in their opening Group D qualifier at the same venue.