Scarcity of good match venues has prompted PremierBet Wizards and Blantyre United to request permission from Mulanje District Sports Committee (MDSC) to use the newly-constructed Mulanje Stadium as their home ground next season.
The construction of the stadium is expected to be completed by March this year, but the two Super League clubs have already written proposals to be hosts of the venue, according to MDSC chairperson Kantigo Phiri.
“Both clubs have written convincing proposals to have the venue as their home ground next season. However, we are yet to respond to their requests as we need to first consult stakeholders on how to go about it,” Phiri said.
Wizards owner Peter Mponda and his Blantyre United counterpart Lawson Nakoma confirmed the development yesterday, saying they would like to start their legacy afresh at the soccer pitch, which is at the foot of Mulanje Mountain.
Blantyre is home to five teams in the top-flight league, namely Nyasa Big Bullets, Be Forward Wanderers, Azam Tigers, Wizards and Blantyre United.
“We noted that Mulanje is a good place where we can easily and perfectly build our fan base and being a tourist attraction area, the viability of our team will be excellent. Blantyre is mostly dominated by Bullets and Wanderers and we felt shifting our base from the commercial city will be a good move,” said Mponda.
He said, in their proposal, they have included certain practicalities that will be beneficial for both the club and the Mulanje community.
“Apart from being the hosts, we will make sure we are involved in charity work, help talent identification and do anything that will be able to uplift the economic and social standards in Mulanje,” said Mponda.
On his part, Nakoma said the shifting of their base to Mulanje would not only help them have a good fan-base but would also grant them a better opportunity to make meaningful gate revenue as compared to Blantyre venues, “where the tradition of poor gate management is refusing to die.”
“As a commercial entity, we believe it would be wise to make changes that would make a positive impact on the progress of the team,” said the Blantyre United owner, whose team has returned to the elite league after two seasons in the lower league.
Mulanje district commissioner Fred Movete said recently when Local Development Fund officials inspected the stadium that they seek to form business partnership with Super League clubs to use the pitch as their home ground next season.
The facility, which has a VIP stand, dressing rooms, terraces and a perimeter fence, has been constructed with funding from a German development bank, KFW. Before fully-fledged construction started in 2015, MDSC partnered some companies and business persons around Mulanje in initiating the erection of the perimeter wall. n