So much has been said about the condition of Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre. The stadium, which is used as home for Blantyre-based Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers, was once partially closed after an assessment report on the recommended that it shouldn’t be used because it posed a danger to the people.
It was declared unfit due to its dilapidated state, poor sanitation and the artificial turf which it is understood, has outlived its life-span. I have been quietly observing the back and forth exchange of words and decision by government and the football governing body, FAM.
There was a time I and my friends sneaked out of the office to watch a game at Kamuzu Stadium, it was during week days. We sat on the bottom terraces but every time those who sat a few terraces above us jumped, the whole stand shook. That was almost four years ago.
I love football just like so many other Malawians do. But, I get angry every time politics rears its ugly face on this matter. I understand when it was partially closed—then Minister of Sports was Enock Chihana—there was pressure from ‘Malawians’ to reopen it for matches despite the recommendations that it shouldn’t be used. Up to this date, I am not sure whether these were really ‘Malawians’ or it was some political party zealots who, as has become the norm, were willing to put the lives of Malawians in danger just to please their political masters.
Since then, the issue of Kamuzu Stadium has turned political with politicians trying to score cheap political goals using football lovers as baits. These people ignore everything else just for the sake of them being applauded that they opened the stadium for matches.
Thumbs up to FAM for standing up and putting your foot down that the stadium will remain closed for matches unless issues raised in the assessment report are addressed. This is commendable and it shows FAM has the welfare of football fans at heart unlike these politicians. I mean, how do you claim you care about the people while at the same time lead them to destruction?
I like FAM’s soberness on this issue despite clear pressure from above. I would implore those that are advising the President on these matters to not feed him with sweet-nothings. Tell the President the truth that Kamuzu Stadium is a hazard to people’s lives and his too. Tell him that structure needs to be demolished and a modern one put up in its place.
Big teams such as Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers have been in existence for such a long time, why they do not have their own stadia is beyond comprehension. The fact that these two and others have no grounds is nobody’s making, it is their own inefficiencies that have caused this. Don’t let football fans pay for your inefficiency.
There is a reason politics is not encouraged to interfere in sports. The issue of Kamuzu Stadium is a perfect example, and politicians shouldn’t be anywhere near sports. They only come to confuse and cause chaos. Sports is one of the few activities that unites people of different political affiliations.
Kamuzu Stadium in its old form has served its purpose, it’s time to put up a modern structure.