Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama yesterday commissioned the new hockey stadium’s artificial turf installed at Kamuzu Stadium upper ground in Blantyre.
The turf and floodlights at the yet-to-be completed stadium project, which started four years ago, were donated to Hockey Association Malawi (HAM) by International Hockey Federation (IHF).
Speaking during the event yesterday witnessed by Africa Hockey Federation president Seif Ahmed, Msungama thanked IHF for donating the turf and floodlights.
Msungama said government will help HAM to complete the stadium which will host Africa Club Championship next year.
“As government, we are excited to be part of this important event. We will give them all the support they will need to complete the project so that it can host Africa Club Championship next year,” he said.
Msungama also thanked Monolux Paints for constructing the perimeter fence at K10 million.
“We would like to encourage more from the private sector to support hockey,” he said.
Apart from facilitating the acquisition of the land where the stadium is situated, government also ensured a duty-waver on the shipping of the turf and floodlights.
The facility, however, needs changing rooms and spectators’ stands before it can host the international competition next year.
In his speech, Ahmed said he was happy that HAM’s dream to have an artificial turf is now a reality.
He thanked the Malawi Government for supporting the project which is a brainchild of previous HAM executive members such as Khrishna Achuthan and the late Tochi Gill.
“We gave this turf for free, but without government you couldn’t manage,” he said.
The stadium’s turf lifespan is 10 years and Ahmed pleaded with HAM to start fundraising for the replacement now.
“You need to have good marketing for this turf. Start fundraising for the next turf because this turf’s life span is 10 years. If you don’t do this, after 10 years we will go back to where we were once it expires,” he said.
Ahmed also warned HAM against using the turf for other events.
“The secret of taking good care of the turf is to play only hockey on it and clean it. Not holding evets like weddings on it,” he said.
Malawi National Council of Sports acting chief executive Henry Mereka said a separate committee will manage the stadium to ensure efficiency.
“We have a committee of professionals which we have put in place to look after the facility so that the lifespan of the turf is nurtured,” he said.
HAM general secretary Lameck Fiwa promised to use the facility for its intended purpose.
“We will ensure that only hockey is played on the turf,” he said.