Zomba football enthusiasts have been dealt a blow after Football Association of Malawi (FAM) indefinitely barred Zomba Community Centre ground from hosting football matches due to its dilapidated state.
A FAM team headed by competitions manager Gomezgani Zakazaka inspected the ground and its report shows that the pitch is not in playable condition.
The inspectors’ comments indicate that the facility is in dilapidated state in all aspects; from the playing field to dressing rooms, perimeter fence and sanitary.
According to the report, the fence is worn out and has three entrances that have no gates, thereby making pitch invasion control impossible.
The facility has two dressing rooms that are not usable as one was turned into a gym; hence, at half time teams rest on the pitch.
“The pitch is very dry, dusty and bumpy. There are visible anthills on the pitch and along the touch line which is dangerous to the players. The pitch, according to the stadium manager, has not been watered since April.
“Water was disconnected due unpaid bills. There is a half metre deep drainage dug along the whole eastern touch line which is dangerous to players and reduces space between bench and touch line,” the report reads in part.
The inspectors have since recommended that the ground should be reopened only after thorough rehabilitation.
“The venue is not fit to host any elite football match. For the ground to be certified fit to host elite matches the following must be done: Rehabilitate the pitch to playable condition, rehabilitate the perimeter fence by fixing the holes and putting gates in all entrances, rehabilitate the dressing rooms so that they become functional, pay water bills so that toilets are reopened and declare the official capacity of the stadium,” the report concludes.
The facility’s manager, Richard Chipungu, said they received the report from FAM and some renovations had already started.
“The trench that you see is for drainage system so that once the water is reconnected we should start watering the pitch,” Chipungu said.
“As for the other major renovations, we will forward the report to our superiors so that once funds are available, the renovations can be done.”
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda has since endorsed the decision to bar the venue from hosting matches.
“We can’t allow the venue to host matches in its state,” Nyirenda said.
Surprisingly, the same venue passed inspection done by Super League of Malawi (Sulom) in May this year.
However, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda yesterday said they had taken heed of FAM’s order to stop the venue from hosting matches.
“Instead, matches that were supposed to be played at the venue will now be shifted to Balaka Stadium,” Banda said.
Meanwhile, Red Lions, who use the venue as their home, have opted to play their Standard Bank Cup quarter-final match against Be Forward Wanderers on Saturday at Kamuzu Stadium.