Most playing surfaces that host top-flight TNM Super League matches are substandard and not worth hosting matches, National Football Referees Association has revealed.
The association’s general secretary Chris Kalichero has since pleaded with stadium owners to take advantage of the off-season to fix the playing surfaces.
“Honestly, if we were to go by international standards, most of the playing surfaces are not fit to host matches. This is one of the things that made our job difficult in the 2019 season. It’s even worse when it rains. If we were to be strict, we could not allow matches to be played in such conditions,” he said.
Kalichero said they will engage Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) on the issue as stakeholders are preparing for the 2020 season.
“We will meet Sulom officials to do a post-mortem of the 2019 season. The issue of playing surfaces is one of the things that we will talk about,” he said.
Sulom and FAM officials inspect the stadiums before the season kicks off and surprisingly, they certify them fit to host matches.
A delegation comprising FAM competitions director Gomezgani Zakazaka, club licensing and compliance manager Casper Jangale and Sulom head of secretariat Patrick Chisale is currently inspecting facilities to ascertain compliance with club licensing requirements.
Jangale said the visits are a follow-up to the club licensing seminar FAM organised for the clubs last month.
He said: “During the seminar we enlightened the clubs on the requirements for club licensing in 2020 and we are now visiting to see if they are doing things right before submitting their applications for assessment on March 1.”
The inspection started at Mafco FC in Salima last Friday and on Sunday FAM met Karonga United and Chitipa United in Karonga.
On Monday, they inspected Chitipa Community Ground and Karonga Stadium while on Tuesday the delegation visited Rumphi Stadium before visiting Ekwendeni and Mzuzu Warriors.
They went on to inspect Moyale Barracks’ home Mzuzu Stadium and TN Star’s home Kasungu Stadium on Wednesday. Blue Eagles’ Nankhaka Stadium was inspected yestersday.
Today, the team is expected to inspect Silver Strikers’ Silvers Stadium, Kamuzu Barracks and Civo FC’s Civo Stadium before wrapping up with the Southern Region next week.
Silver Strikers media and marketing officer David Daniel Dauda said the club closed the stadium for the pitch’s rehabilitation.
“We engaged experts in landscaping who, as we are speaking, are working on the pitch,” he said.
Jangale said they will give the stadium owners feedback on the condition of their facilities.