By Ameenu Shardow
Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri is furious with the decision to move their 2013 Nations Cup qualifier second leg match against Ghana from Blantyre to the capital, Lilongwe.
The Flames must overturn a 2-0 deficit suffered in the first leg in Accra to qualify for the finals to be hosted in South Africa ahead of the more fancied Black Stars.
Phiri however fears the decision by the Malawi FA to change the match venue could wreck his plans now that the game will be played on natural grass rather than on the originally elected artificial turf at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
“We are used to the artificial turf at the Kamuzu Stadium and the change of venue will give the advantage to Ghana because their players ply their trade in Europe where they mostly play on natural grass,” Phiri said.
“There’s nothing much we can do apart from shifting our camping next week to Lilongwe.”
Malawi FA boss Walter Nyamilandu however explains the closure of the Kamuzu Stadium on safety grounds three weeks ago left his association no choice but to opt for the 20,000 capacity Civo Stadium.
“The Kamuzu Stadium, the cathedral of the game in Malawi, was closed three weeks ago on safety grounds,” Nyamilandu said.
“We had no choice but to choose Civo.”
The change of venue will certainly be to the advantage of the Black Stars whose team comprised dominantly of foreign-based players are used to playing on natural grass.