With the artificial turf and floodlights installed at the Hockey Stadium in Blantyre, the Hockey Association of Malawi (HAM) is bidding for the hosting of the Africa Club Hockey Championships in November.
HAM president Krishna Achuthan said during a presentation on the progress of the stadium project to stakeholders at College of Medicine (CoM) Sports Complex in Blantyre on Saturday that the association has since bid for the hosting rights of the continental event that involves reigning champions from each country.
“We put in a bid for November of this year and we are confident that we will be given an opportunity,” he said, adding that the facility will be launched once the rains stop sometime in April.
“The other thing is that the Africa Hockey Federation wants us to use the turf for their tournaments. So, it is a win-win situation if you look at it that way. This one will be a big event in our fold.”
But Achuthan concurred with Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) acting executive secretary Henry Mereka that although the pitch is now ready for high-profile action, there is still more work to be done for the facility to be of higher standards.
Currently, HAM and the council are searching for partners to assist in the erection of spectator terraces, dressing rooms, toilets and perimeter fence. The stadium is also expected to have an indoor pitch.
Mereka said there is also need to look at how the facility will be looked after in terms of maintenance of the pitch and preventing vandalism.
“We need to join hands in finding ways and means of how we can manage the facility. There should be no business as usual. This stadium should be put to proper use,” he said. Federation of International Hockey gave HAM the astro-turf and the floodlights worth K325 million in 2017 as an award in appreciation of the association’s youth development initiatives in 2016. The government, through the MNCS, provided funding for the installation works.