The reopened Kamuzu Stadium is still not fit enough to host international matches for the Flames, FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said on Wednesday.
Nation Online asked Nyirenda if the stadium, which its owners Minister of Youth and Sports reopened on public demand after cordoning off some terraces, would be marked for the forthcoming international assignments.
“Civo Stadium remains our main stadium. We do not expect the switch to affect gate revenue as the last home match against Ghana raised K18 million (about $52 000) against K17 million (about $50 000) which was realised at the Kamuzu Stadium,” said Nyirenda.
He noted that Fifa inspectors cannot accept hosting international games at the Blantyre arena as the cordoned-off terraces are an indication of its suspect state.
“I believe time has come for authorities to think ‘of what next’. They should, take advantage of the rainy season, work on the BAT ground and make it as an alternative for competitive games.
“On our part, we are waiting for Fifa to erect an artificial turf at Chiwembe ground. We are also talking to Surestream management to see if they can allow games at their stadium,” Nyirenda noted.
Flames return to action around February and March with home matches against Kenya and Namibia, having already hosted Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.
Malawi’s Sports Ministry principal secretary II, Justin Saidi, on Wednesday said only the Super League of Malawi and FAM can determine where to play domestic and international games.
“Our role was just to reopen the stadium and this is a temporary measure. As long as the fans are restricted to the terraces that are physically fit, then we have no problem until such a time we will start the major renovations. The rest of the terraces are fit,” Saidi explained.
Government closed Kamuzu Stadium in September citing security concerns after an inspection by structural engineers, RD Consultants recommended that “otherwise the stadium should not be used at all until all the recommendations are done”.
“Generally, the stands C and D have structurally failed in terms of the cross beams and partly the seats. These stands can no longer be used until they are overhauled with major remedial works.
“The new stands F and A can be loaded to full design capacity. The stands C, D and E can currently be used only up to the retaining wall seats. There will be need to enforce that barriers are put in place to control the crowds from sitting in the suspended sections,” reads the engineers’ report in part.