Silver Stadium has failed the preliminary club licensing system (CLS) test after sections of the facility were deemed to be in bad state.
The development comes barely days after Mzuzu Stadium also failed to make the grade.
The inspection team, which includes Football Association of Malawi (FAM) CLS manager Casper Jangale, commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola and competitions manager Gomezgani Zakazaka, has this week been assessing footballgrounds in readiness for the new season.
The inspection will also determine if a club should be given a licence or not. Clubs that do not meet the CLS requirements will be kicked out of the elite league. The requirements demand that teams have, among others, youth development programmes, secretariat, good training and match venues.
In his preliminary assessment of the pitches in the Northern and Central regions, Jangale said they have noted that Silver Stadium’s playing surface is rough, a conditionthat would make it difficult for a match to flow.
Silver is the home ground for Silver Strikers. Both the club and the facility belong to the Reserve Bank of Malawi.
“We aren’t impressed with Silver Stadium. It’s a smart facility but the pitch, which also matters the most, is not in good state. It’s bumpy and generally rough and it could be a catalyst for players’ injuries,” he said.
Jangale said Mzuzu Stadium is the worst of the venues they have visited: “Almost everything else is in bad shape. The pitch is rough; most of the sanitation facilities are not operational. What we have seen in Mzuzu is really shocking.”
Mzuzu Stadium is the main ground in the Northern Region and it is the home of Moyale Barracks and Mzuni FC. It might also be used by Chitipa United as Karonga Stadium, which the club is eyeing to be its base, is still under construction.
Jangale said the construction work at Karonga is promising but it might not be ready when the new season kicks off next month.
“The contractors are hoping that it might take the next two months to be ready. We will be monitoring the progress there,” he said.
The CLS team’s next stop will be the Southern Region where Kamuzu, Kalulu and Balaka stadiums will be up for assessment.
“Generally, the stadiums in the Central Region are in good state. More impressive is the Chitowe ground, Dwangwa United’s home; the pitch is well taken care of. Nankhaka is also good pitch-wise so is Civo,” he said.
Jangale has meanwhile said that the CLS assessment team will be given a report of their findings before a determination is made on which clubs should be licensed.
Mzuzu City Council spokesperson Karen Msiska said they are making efforts to make the stadium a conducive place.
“First, we have erected a fence so the previous concerns of lack of security have been addressed. Secondly, we have removed the old grass which made it difficult for water to filtrate into the soil. The new grass has overgrown that’s why FAM inspectors might have ruled that the pitch is bad. We can assure them that we will cut it short,” Msiska said.
On sanitation, he said that the CLS team found no running water in the toilets: “We are currently facing financial challenges. So during the off season we cut water supply to the stadium. That is why there was no water,” he said.