Prior to the Flames match against Mali at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Saturday, Hotel Victoria cancelled accommodation booking for the visiting team after guests expressed fear of contracting Ebola virus.
Hotel Victoria food and beverages manager Tinkhika Msumba confirmed yesterday that they were forced to turn down a booking for Mali’s 25 supporters and officials after about 60 local and international guests threatened to check out.
The Malian supporters and officials were later accommodated at another hotel. Their players and technical staff had been booked at a different hotel.
“It all started on Wednesday when our local guests watched BBC news, which reported about Mali losing a second life to Ebola. So, when they heard that some Mali football team members were coming to lodge at the hotel, they were scared and threatened to check out,” said Msumba.
“We, therefore, told the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to find another place to accommodate them. Of course, we have lost at least K6.5 million due to the incident, but that is immaterial compared to the safety of our clients and staff,” he said.
FAM director of administration Chris Mdolo said it is true that Mali supporters were booked at another hotel after Hotel Victoria refused to host them.
A senior staff member at the hotel where the fans were accommodated, who spoke on condition of anonymity, admitted that they welcomed the visitors because they believed the screening at the airport was enough.
“The good thing is that no one showed signs of Ebola during their stay at our hotel,” the source said.