Hockey Association of Malawi (HAM) has pleaded with government to consider naming the yet-to-be completed hockey stadium in Blantyre after the association’s former president the late Tochi Gill.
HAM vice-president Krishna Achuthan made the request on Saturday through Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) executive secretary George Jana during Gill’s memorial service at the Indian Sports Club (ISC) in Blantyre.
He said Gill, who died in India over two weeks ago, deserves special respect for his dedication and contribution to the development of the sport in the country, including his dream to see Malawi’s first national hockey stadium constructed.
“We request the council to consider naming the facility as the Tochi Gill Stadium. We feel this would be a fitting way for the hockey fraternity to remember him in many years to come. In fact, the stadium was his project and it meant so much to him,” said Achuthan.
“He has left a legacy in Malawi not only in hockey, but in the business and public sector as well. As HAM president, Gill sacrificed his resources, time and energy to help the sport grow. His desire to see youngsters develop was a passion that was unrivalled. The sport shall always remain grateful to him.”
According to Achuthan, the late Gill, who was re-elected HAM president three months ago and won the non-citizen accolade during the recent inaugural Malawi Sport Awards, wished that the stadium was completed on time to host the 2019 President’s Cup.
“In fact, when Malawi won silver at the inaugural President’s Cup in Tanzania, it was him who bid for Malawi to host the next event and fast-track the construction of the stadium but, sadly, he would not be available to see his dream being realised,” he said.
While admitting that Gill deserves respect as far as hockey development in the country is concerned, Jana said he will take the request to government for consideration since the stadium is a government property.
However, he said government has already started fulfilling some of Gill’s wishes as they have identified contractors, who are expected to make the stadium ready in terms of a turf this December before other works such as erecting of terraces and floodlights follow ahead of the international tournament.
Gill’s son Tinu said his family will carry on with his father’s legacy of being dedicated to hockey development and being involved in charity.