The Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa has said having completed the Bingu National Stadium project, government will now shift its focus to constructing another stadium in Blantyre.
Mussa was responding to a question on when government will demolish the ailing Kamuzu Stadium and replace it with a new facility as promised by President Peter Mutharika during his campaign in the run-up to the 2014 Presidential Elections.
“We have already had preliminary discussions with the mayor [of Blantyre] councillor Chalamanda following H.E’s [His Excellency’s] directive that Blantyre must now wear a new face with a five star hotel, conference centre and the new national stadium.
“Cooperating partners are ready to support these national programmes and we are currently working on identifying the funds.
“The President is serious about the pledge and now that we are done with the Bingu National Stadium, the focus will now switch to the Blantyre project and as the line minister, I will see to it that it gets off the ground,” he said.
The minister reiterated that Kamuzu Stadium will soon be shut down as it cannot continue to operate in its current state.
“It is exhausted and needs a new one, in its current state, it is a death trap and we cannot risk people’s lives.”
On his part, Chalamanda said: “It is true, we have had preliminary talks with the minister and the plans are to demolish the stadium and put up a new structure altogether which will include other sporting activities.
“These were the initial discussions we had and we are now working on identifying the funds.”
Asked about the estimated time frame and when the project will start, Chalamanda said: “The President wants it as soon as yesterday, so we want it to start as soon as possible. So, we will be waiting for directions from them [government].”
Asked whether the Blantyre City Council will now take over the management of the stadium, Chalamanda said: “Government are still running the facility, but as for the future arrangements we will [also] have to be directed by them.”
Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu also said recently that the ailing facility will not host competitive games next season due to the worn-out artificial turf.
“This [just ended] season, should be the last, otherwise it is risky to the players, unless it is refurbished,” he said.
Mussa and Nyamilandu said the alternative venues will be FAM’s MDC Stadium and Mpira ground, Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo and Balaka Stadium. n