Malawi’s Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifers will be played under floodlights at Bingu National Stadium following Fifa requirement that matches should be played in the evening during hot weather.
Malawi will host Mozambique on September 5-8, Ivory Coast on October 6-9 and Cameroon on November 11-13.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu confirmed the development in an interview on Thursday that the matches will be played in the evening.
He said: “It’s a new requirement for hosting World Cup matches and Africa Cup of Nations due to high temperatures during the day. We have to comply to be certified fit to host international matches.”
The reinstallation of the floodlights at Bingu National Stadium has since been completed.
The national team is set to return to the facility which will be Malawi’s home ground after Fifa and Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre and asked Malawi to play their matches outside the country.
By then, the Bingu National Stadium was turned into a Covid-19 isolation centre and some facilities were in dilapidated state.
But government has now fixed the facility which is now on the list of Malawi stadiums set for virtual inspection.
Nyamilandu thanked government for fixing the stadium in readiness for Fifa inspection.
He said: “Bingu National Stadium’s readiness to host the World Cup qualifying matches this year is on track.
“Lots of hard work behind the scenes by Ministry of Sports with great collaboration by FAM and Malawi National Council of Sports. The first match under floodlights is on the horizon in Malawi after a long spell.
“A report on the readiness of BNS has been submitted to CAF on the specified deadline of 14th July with evidence of pictures of the facility and the football pitch. Following our recommendation to use Bingu National Stadium as opposed to Kamuzu Stadium, which was rejected, CAF will arrange an inspection soon and notify us of the date.
“We are impressed with the progress that has been made at Bingu National Stadium to make it ready to host international matches. The renovations are on track and we have no doubt that CAF will homologate the stadium and certify it fit.”
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said playing under floodlights will also help the players get used to the international stage.
He said: “We were failing to do the same because we didn’t have such facility. Unfortunately, this somehow affected our players when they were playing under floodlights in away matches.”
Malawi last played in the evening at home in the early 1990s when Kamuzu Stadium’s floodlights were functional.