Malawi Government has backtracked on earlier plans to include an indoor netball court as part of the new stadium being constructed in Lilongwe by China.
The stadium will also not have a synthetic running track for field and athlete sports nor an indoor swimming pool as earlier pledged during the Joyce Banda administration by former minister of Sports Enoch Chihana.
This was revealed during a recent tour of the facility by new Minister of Sports Grace Maseko.
Chief architect in the Ministry of Lands Knight Munthali, who is in charge of the stadium construction, also confirmed in an interview of the development.
Munthali said the pact with the Chinese government was about the football stadium and not the indoor court, swimming pool and synthetic running track.
“In the agreement, there was talk about construction of a modern football stadium with modern facilities such as security cameras, extended roof cover that will have 85 percent of the stands covered and inbuilt rights to enable the facility to host matches at night. There is nothing about the netball court,” said Munthali.
In the 2011 financial year, government allocated K250 million for construction of an indoor netball court.
Chiumia said government has allocated a plot next to the new modern stadium where the new indoor netball court will be constructed.
“We are in the process of sourcing money for the construction of not only the modern netball court but also modern facilities to accommodate basketball, volleyball and many other sports disciplines,’ said Chiumia.
She, however, could not commit herself to saying when the project will start and the completion period.
“I have to be honest that there is political will on the part of President Peter Mutharika to improve sports infrastructure in the country. Netball has put Malawi on the global map through the Malawi Queens’ success. We need to show our appreciation by constructing a modern sports facility so that we are able to host teams such as England, New Zealand and other big names, and in the process raise revenue,” said Chiumia.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda said they have waited for long to construct the facility.
“We have heard many promises, but nothing came of it. It’s disappointing, but there is nothing we can do. This is a new government and a new minister, we hope they will assist us. We have no netball facilities in the country despite having a successful national netball team which is number one in Africa,” said Chinunda.