The Football Association of Malawi has clarified that the turning of Bingu National Stadium (BNS) into a COVID-19 Isolation Centre earlier this year hindered its certification exercise resulting in the stadium not considered for recent international matches.
This follows CAF’s declaration that Kamuzu Stadium in not fit to host international matches and the Malawi National Football team has been ordered to play the forthcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers outside the Country.
FAM General Secretary Alfred Gunda says BNS has always been one of the CAF homologated stadiums in the country since it was inaugurated in 2017 but the condition of the pitch this year has not been maintained to a playable condition.
“In late October 2020 CAF was expected to send an inspector to do the stadiums certifications ahead of the re-start of the 2021 AFCON Qualifiers and FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. The exercise was suspended due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and in February this year CAF advised FAM to use local inspectors to do the exercise.
“We could not do the inspection of BNS in February as it was a restricted area as a COVID-19 facility and this is why we only went with Kamuzu Stadium for the Uganda game.
“After the Uganda Match, CAF wrote us again to do the inspection of BNS and make the renovations at Kamuzu Stadium. By the deadline of 25th April, the playing surface at BNS was still not in playable state and that is why we are in this situation,” said Gunda.
On the way forward, Gunda said FAM will engage CAF to negotiate for an extended period to work on the BNS surface to make it playable in time for the next match.
“Playing outside this country is non- starter and not an option for consideration at this stage. We are hoping that CAF will be flexible and understanding to the environment we operating in.
“We have already engaged government on a plan that will accelerate the process,” he said.
Since its inauguration four years ago the BNS has hosted five Flames matches and the last one was against Morocco in a 2019 AFCON Qualifier on 29th March 2019.
On the other hand, since 2017 to March this year Kamuzu Stadium has hosted six matches.
Other high profile matches that BNS hosted between 2017 and 2019 before football was suspended due to COV ID 19 include 2017, 2018, 2019 Airtel Top 8 finals, 2017 Carlsberg Cup final, 2018 FISD Challenge Cup Final, 2017,2018,2019 CAF champions League and Confederations Cup matches, three Under 20 CAF qualifiers, 2018 Charity Shield,