Football Association of Malawi (FAM) executive committee has accepted Surestream Petroleumâ€™s request to buy Surestream Stadium [formerly MDC Stadium] for the purpose of the academy that has been set up.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the executive members felt time was now ripe to dispose of the stadium located in Chilomoni Township in Blantyre.
“We noted that they [Surestream] are a serious investor in football and [also] the significant sums that have been pumped into the renovations were of paramount importance.
“So, we were of the view that we need to strengthen this relationship and in principle, the request has been accepted.
“It was further noted that it would be a big challenge for us to maintain all the infrastructure that we have such as Goal Project I, II and III,” he said.
The FAM boss said Surestream are now expected to make an offer.
He further justified the move to sell the facility, saying as an association, they do not have the capacity to maintain the stadium.
“It was defunct for a long time and we are happy that we have found a partner to keep the facility within football,” he said.
On whether the stadium would be accessible for local football matches, Nyamilandu said: “Weâ€™ll enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the use of the facility and we basically agree on the need to safeguard the stadium because if it is open to the public, it will be run down.
“So, we need to respect the fact that they [Surestream] will be owners of the stadium. But while they own the facility, weâ€™ll seek access in a reasonable manner,” he said.
The academyâ€™s founder and director Chris Pitman recently told The Nation that the facility would only be open for specific cup games and Flames training.
“There is an acute shortage of stadia in Malawi and Blantyre in particular, and we understand the situation, but we also wouldnâ€™t want to spoil the stadium.
“What we wouldnâ€™t want is to open it every week because it would get back to the old dilapidated state. But the stadium will definitely be available for specific competitions and international training,” said Pitman.
It is reported that Surestream has spent about K40 million (about $134 000) in refurbishing the facility and they have pledged to invest $1 million [about K320] million towards the ambitious project.
The academy has already started operating and its technical director is Flames captain Peter Mponda whereas Andy Dale is the head coach. They are working hand-in-hand with FAMâ€™s technical director Jack Chamangwana and grass-roots manager Patricio Kulemeka.
FAM bought the stadium from the now defunct Malawi Development Corporation (MDC) at K22 million (about $74 000).