Malawi’s Youth and Sports Minister Enoch Chihana says the Flames may have to play the second leg of their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ghana on 14 October at Civo Stadium in the capital if Kamuzu Stadium will remain closed.
Malawi government has closed the country’s Kamuzu stadium in Blantyre after engineers established that some of the stands have developed dangerous cracks.
Chihana told journalists at Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre on Wednesday that government has put in placea ‘Plan B’ if the facility will not be repaired in time for the high-profile Ghana match.
He said incase Kamuzu Stadium will not be certified fit to host the match, government will close Civo Stadium in Lilongwe for rehabilitation to meet Fifa standards for the match or else Malawi may play Ghana at a neutral ground, possibly Zambia.
Fifa have recommended in recent years that the stadium’s capacity is trimmed from 60,000 to just over 32,000.
“We are supposed to hire an independent structural engineer this week to assess the stands using a machine. By next week on Friday we will have a final report whether to close the stadium for renovations or to continue using it,” Chihana who had toured the stadium earlier said.
“But if the engineers report will require us to renovate the stands for a long period of time then we will have no choice other than shifting the game to Civo Stadium,” said Chihana.
He said that means they have to close Civo Stadium as well to work on the turf.
The minister with some officials from Football Association of Malawi, Malawi National Council of Sports and officials from the ministry of youth and sports inspected Kamuzu Stadium in the morning to appreciate what was there.
According to the secretary in the ministry of youth and sports, Justin Saidi, government is working 24/7 on the Kamuzu Stadium issue and assured Malawians that by next week Friday they will know the status of the stadium.
“It pleased the minister to come and appreciate what is there and what will happen next. But by Friday next week people will have a clear picture on the way forward after receiving a report from an independent engineer which government will hire,” said Saidi.
Some of the notable figures, who were in the inspection team, were FAM’s president Walter Nyamilandu, Malawi National Council of Sports general secretary George Jana.
After inspecting the stadium government officials, FAM officials and ministry of youth and sports officials had a closed door meeting at Malawi National Council of Sports offices for two hours.