Despite the Confederation of African Football (CAF) declaring Kamuzu Stadium as not fit to host matches, FAM insists that it will include it alongside Bingu National Stadium (BNS) for latest inspection.
This is despite CAF’s bulky report outlining several flaws at the country’s oldest stadium and its subsequent decision to order Malawi to play its home matches outside the country.
However, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) insists it will still include the dilapidated Kamuzu Stadium for inspection in readiness for the postponed 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers, which have been pencilled for September 2021.
“We will still proceed to submit our appeal so that Kamuzu Stadium and BNS are reconsidered for approval based on a detailed plan to revamp both facilities. This plan of action has to be agreed and signed by the stadium owners, with set deadlines,” said FAM president Walter Nyamilandu.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda confirmed the association’s positon ahead of a meeting with Ministry of Youth and Sports held on Wednesday in Lilongwe.
“Ours is a simple proposal that these are the two stadiums which we want to use for Flames matches,” he said.
But the report from CAF, which we have seen, faults Kamuzu Stadium on several platforms, which would take a miracle to fix while BNS only needs its natural grass pitch rehabilitated.
The CAF report states that Kamuzu Satdium cannot host matches because there are no individual spectators’ seats in the stadia separated from one another, shaped, numbered and made of unbreakable and non-inflammable material, and with backrest.
The stadium also failed on several safety issues such as having no venue operating centre (VOC), complete with CCTV, no system of counting the number of spectators and no first aid facilities.
The stadium also does not have a VVIP, VIP lounge, no fully-fledged media gallery, no press conference room, no doping room, and no international standard changing rooms that can accommodate 25 players.
Apart from these, the Kamuzu Stadium artificial pitch, which was installed by government in 2018, cannot host matches until it gets a Fifa field certificate not older than two years.
Ministry of Youth and Sports director of sports Jameson Ndalama said government has no plans to renovate Kamuzu Stadium.
He said: “What we can say is that looking at the areas pointed out by the CAF report on Kamuzu Stadium, it is impossible for government to do the renovations for the facility to host the World Cup matches in September,” he said.
However, Ndalama said the BNS pitch rehabilitation is almost done.
“Work on the pitch is underway. Actually, it started even before the report from CAF,” he said.
In February, FAM presented Kamuzu Stadium for CAF inspection only since BNS was by then was used as a Covid-19 isolation centre.
Soccer analyst George Chiusiwa faulted FAM for failing to learn from its mistakes.
He said: “This is very careless and being insistent for nothing on the part of FAM. Kamuzu Stadium has been condemned by CAF on countless times, and it wouldn’t be wise to include the old facility in the renewed proposal for stadia for the next inspection by the continental football governing body.
“According to the new requirements, for a stadium to meet the set criteria, it is clear that BNS would require minor maintenance works to pass the assessment, unlike Kamuzu Stadium.”
Chiusiwa argued that even in the event that Kamuzu Stadium gets approved, the Flames need a decent venue for their home matches.
“Again, why did government erect BNS if we cannot use it for Flames games? We all agree that the safety of Kamuzu Stadium is not guaranteed as the facility is being used way after its lifespan.
“It is, therefore, imperative for FAM to realise that this second CAF assessment is a huge opportunity for Malawi to ensure that BNS is in shape in readiness for the Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign,” he said.