The eight-month suspension of sporting activities, including football over Covid-19 pandemic, left stadiums across the country unattended, a situation that raises doubt on the practicality of proceeding with the new season on October 17.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) two months ago advised Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to take advantage of the break to work with stadiums owners on their facilities.
However, most of the stadiums Nation on Sunday inspected need time to finish maintenance works.
Mzuzu Stadium which is home ground to TNM Super League sides, Mzuzu Warriors and Moyale Barracks, is overgrown with bushes.
Chitowe Stadium in Nkhotakota, home ground to Mafco and Karonga Stadium, home ground to Karonga United and Chitipa United, need to fine-tune.
Rumphi Stadium, home ground to newly-promoted Ekwendeni Hammers, is yet to start work on FAM recommendations before it can make the grade.
Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe and Mulanje Stadium are also undergoing maintenance works.
Speaking in an interview, Mzuzu Stadium manager Paul Kachilika said the facility could not be allocated maintenance funds because it was not clear on when the games would start due to Covid-19 pandemic.
“Maintenance funding was not provided for at the stadium. With the announcement by government that the games will resume, we have started the maintenance work.
“We are working on the pitch, toilets, which were totally vandalised, and parameter fence. We will put extra gear so that within few weeks we should finish,” he said.
BNS stadium manager Ambilike Mwaungulu disclosed that they still have some maintenance works to do before declaring the facility ready to host games.
“We still need some time to finalise the maintenance work. Our focus now is on grass, regeneration. We have applied top soil to grow the grass a thing that will need another month for the facility to be ready for games. These are maintenance processes that cannot be jumped,” he said.
Rumphi District Council director of public works and development Allan Chitete said they still have time to work on the shortfalls.
Mulanje Park Stadium manager Memory Baluwa said there are some areas that needs to be worked on.
Chitowe Stadium welfare officer Taza Biza said they are working on the pitch.
“We are working on top dressing to grow the grass. We are sure that by October, the outlook will be improved,” he said.
Kamuzu Stadium manager Ireen Mkoka said the stadium needs installation of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“We have no problem with the stadium outlook what is remaining is to have the PPE in place at the facility ahead of the games,” she said.
Karonga Stadium manager Wilson Ngwira’s concern was playing at the venue which has no drainage system in rainy season.
Meanwhile, FAM has insisted going ahead with resumption of games on October 17.
“We do not have the luxury to wait until next year,” said FAM president Walter Nyamilandu.
According to FAM club licensing and compliance officer Casper Jangale, FAM will from September 29 to October 11 inspect the stadiums and venues that will not meet the required standard will not host games.
“Two months ago we notified stadia owners to prepare their facilities for inspection. Note that inspection will be done to assess the practicality of holding matches in those stadia against the Covid-19 protocols which will be the new normal for conducting business to ensure health and safety for all stakeholders,” he said.