FAM has until close of business today to confirm alternative venue for the Flames’ 2022 World Cup home qualifiers following Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) decision to reject Bingu National Stadium (BNS).
But Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu played down today’s cut-off point in an interview yesterday, saying they will beat the deadline.
“We are very much aware of the deadline and we will make a decision tomorrow [today].
“We are pursuing the appeal as well as the alternative venue.”
A source said FAM are considering Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa as possible alternatives for Flames’ home matches.
Meanwhile, FAM with support from government, has filed its appeal to CAF against the decision to reject BNS.
In the appeal, signed by general secretary Alfred Gunda, FAM has asked the continental football governing body to give them 14 days to work on the pitch.
Reads the appeal letter in part: “The [CAF] report notes that the BNS has all the attributes to become a top-class venue for hosting international events. However, the football pitch condition has been singled out as the main area of concern that has led CAF into not approving the stadium.
“I wish to put it on record that at the on set of the engagement between CAF and FAM regarding the BNS, it was made very clear that there was going to be work done on the football pitch. You would be pleased to note that the outstanding works on the football pitch were embarked upon with earnest by the stadium management with support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.”
FAM states that to this effect, significant progress has been made on the football pitch to reach the desired level as demanded by CAF and Fifa.
“Having reached this far, we are confident that the remaining portion will be competed within the next 14 days without any problems.
“You may wish to note that Malawi Government, the owners of the facility, have invested heavily in the project and are further committed to achieve the set standards of football pitches, befitting a state of the art facility of this nature.
“Please find attached hereto a letter of guarantee from the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It is against this background that FAM would like to launch an appeal on the decision that has been taken by CAF to ban Bingu National Stadium from hosting the forthcoming World Cup Qatar 2022 matches.”
FAM further states that based on advice of a ground specialist who has been specifically hired for this exercise, they are confident that the outstanding works would be completed within the stipulated period.
In an interview yesterday, Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama said it was surprising that CAF decided to ban BNS when its inspector was given an assurance that it would be ready within the next two weeks.
He said: “When our friends from CAF came for inspection they were impressed with the progress and while they raised an issue on the condition of the pitch, we assured them that it would be completed in no time as it was work in progress.
“Surprisingly we got this letter through FAM that the stadium had been rejected.”