South Africa was best option for Flames WC matches-FAM

The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it chose South Africa as alternative home ground for the Flames 2022 World Cup qualifiers because the country provides the best and convenient options in terms of match organization and team logistics.

Confederation of African Football (CAF) ordered FAM to choose an alternative venue for the Flames outside Malawi after declaring the Bingu International Stadium in Lilongwe unfit to host World Cup qualifiers.

FAM General Secretary Alfred Gunda said the association was looking at a number of countries within the region but the cost benefit analysis favoured South Africa.

“This will be the first time that we are hosting an official match outside our jurisdiction. It will not be an easy task considering the match organization protocols for matches of this nature but also considering that host FA’s in the countries will be busy with their own matches.

“For South Africa it will be much easier because we will work with COSAFA and leverage on their experience and connections for assistance with match organization as well as negotiations for better rates of match venue, training facilities, service providers, accommodation, meals and travel.

“Cost of camping in South Africa will be manageable and the country provides the best facilities in terms of training, match venues and hotels which will ensure the welfare of our team is not affected.

“Playing outside will be costly and we need to significantly manage costs. Playing in South Africa is cost effective from airfares point of view as most of our players are based in South Africa. So we will save a lot on air tickets than playing in another country,” said Gunda.

He however said the FAM is yet to finalise on the stadium where Flames will host Mozambique on September 7, but hinted that it will be in Johannesburg.

“We are still finasling with the venue owners but we have a number of options in Johannesburg. We will soon announce the stadium,” said Gunda.

FAM is still discussing with CAF to re-assess the BNS following an appeal on the Stadium ban last week and expects a firm answer by the end of the week.

“We have engaged an extra gear in rehabilitating the pitch ahead of a second assessment. We still have hope the decision can be reversed. Even if the appeal fails we will ensure the pitch is in good condition from the October window,” he added.


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