Be Forward Wanderers chairperson Symon Sikwese says they are not carried away with the progress of the stadium project which government pledged to construct for the club because of the political attachment to it.
He was reacting to government’s move to invite sealed bids for the construction of their stadium and that of their rivals Nyasa Big Bullets published in Mondays’ editions of The Nation and The Daily Times.
Part of the advert, reads: “The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, on behalf of the Republic of Malawi, invites sealed bids from eligible bidders who are currently registered in the unlimited category for building with the National Construction Industry Council of Malawi [NCIC].”
However, Sikwese said: “We have seen the advert and we are going to see how it is going to unfold.
“It’s difficult to say anything at this stage because the project has a political connotation. So, it depends on the commitment.
“As a club, we are just watching… It will benefit us, but we are being cautious.”
The Nomads chairperson said they are being skeptical because the issue only gathers momentum “when there are elections coming up”.
Said Sikwese: “One of the reasons why we are in deep financial problems is because there was a commitment from the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] to meet the costs of our participation in the CAF Champions League in 2018 which has not been fulfilled.
“So, we need to be very careful in the way we react to issues that have political endorsements.”
However, Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said the invitation for bids is good news to them.
“It means that there are significant steps in fulfilling the pledge to construct a stadium for us as promised,” he said.
Reacting to Sikwese’s comments, the ministry’s spokesperson Simon Mbvundula said the Nomads are entitled to their opinion.
He said: “But what they need to understand is that a project like this takes sometime because there is a lot that is involved.
“We could also have loved that the project should speed up, but we understand that there are procedures that need to be followed.
“The good thing is that money for the project was already allocated in the current [2019/20] National Budget having been approved by Parliament. So, we have to go stage by stage and things are moving according to plan.”
According to the advert, bidding documents will be available upon payment of a non-refundable fee of K20 000 per lot from March 2.
It also states that a mandatory pre-bid meeting will be held on March 17 2020 and that bids shall be valid for a period of 120 days after bid opening.
President Peter Mutharika pledged to construct stadia for the two teams during the campaign trail for the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections whose presidential poll result has been annulled by the courts over irreguralities. The country is currently expected to host a fresh presidential election.
In the 2019/20 National Budget, government allocated K1.6 billion (K800 million each) for the projects.n