Nyasa Big Bullets’ bid for spectators to be allowed for their CAF Champions League preliminary round second leg against South Africa’s AmaZulu at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday has fallen through.
The People’s Team requested government through Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to consider allowing them about 10 000 fans for the match on the basis that Covid-19 preventive measures would be strictly adhered to.
But FAM competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka said in an interview yesterday that they had given up on the bid, considering time factor.
He said: “We have still not received a response from government and even if they do, it would be practically impossible as we would have little time to take it up with the Confederation of African Football [CAF] who have the final say.
“The arrangement was that had government accepted, that would have been the basis of pursuing it with CAF.”
On his part, Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said they are disappointed that the bid did not succeed.
He said: “It was our wish that at least 25 percent of the [41 000] capacity [about 10 000] should be allowed to watch the match, knowing fully well that there is a provision of 250 people maximum.
“But then the 250 includes members from the two teams, match officials, security, medical and other stakeholders.”
Chigoga said apart from the hype that comes with home support, they were also expecting to generate revenue through gate collections.
“The hype created by the fans gives a true meaning of home advantage. Spectators would have also had a chance to watch an international match. But then, there is little we can do about it and we just have to accept the situation,” he said.
The TNM Super League champions go into the second leg with an edge, having won the first leg 0-1 away in Durban, courtesy of Chiukepo Msowoya’s first half strike.
Bullets have also asked CAF to consider shifting kick-off from 4pm to 3pm and are awaiting a response.
The kick-off time is in line with CAF’s new regulations that all matches played in summer should kick off late in the afternoon to avoid hot weathers.
Chigoga said while BNS has its floodlights fully operational, Bullets’ concern is that playing in the evening is risky due to electricity outages.
“Matches in Malawi normally kick off 2:30pm,” he said.