Big Bullets in action

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—As it is already clear that the stadium projects for Mighty Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets will be discontinued under the new Tonse Alliance government, Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama has also hinted at abandoning plans to build a new stadium at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre, a project which was proposed by the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime.

Msungama, who is not in good terms with Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Walter Nyamilandu, says his ministry will demolish Kamuzu Stadium to build a new one should his ministry’s proposal be approved by relevant authorities and stakeholders.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, Msungama said there was no logic in building a new stadium—projected to cost K110 billion— barely a kilometre away from an existing one.

 “My suggestion, which I will pursue with relevant authorities and stakeholders, is that we have Kamuzu Stadium which is historically an icon and the way forward should be to demolish it and build a modern facility at the same place. After all, it is centrally located,” said Msungama.

“What will be the purpose of building a new stadium when we have another one just a stone throw away which is in a dilapidated state when we can demolish it and build another one, thereby saving resources?” he queried.

His proposal obviously means Blantyre will have no stadium for the whole period of reconstruction of the Kamuzu Stadium, a development which is likely to attract furry from the football fans in the Commercial City where two football giants Mighty Wanderers and Big Bullets is their base.

However, football analyst Charles Nyirenda has agreed with the minister arguing it will cut costs.

“I fully agree with his sentiments. It will cut costs using the same space where Kamuzu Stadium is located to build another stadium.Further to that, Kamuzu Stadium premises are centrally located and the majority of people just walk there, it’s also spacious.

“Moreover, the imaginary Njamba Stadium scheme was a political gimmick. Just from the blue people were promised the moon and in the end, the project wasn’t on the official government infrastructure development agenda. No wonder, the project is just fizzling out the way it popped up,” said Nyirenda.

But another football analyst Humphrey Mvula suggested that before proceeding with the new thinking, the minister should consult  his Cabinet colleagues to appreciate the ramifications of  his decision.

He said: “This is taking into consideration that the old stadium was declared as a monument to be preserved as a heritage. Besides, the social /political implications of having no stadium in Blantyre while a new stadium is being reconstructed will be difficult to mitigate for the people of Southern Region.”

In January this year, the Peter Mutharika administration announced that it had shelved plans to construct a new stadium in Blantyre, opting to prioritise stadia projects for privately-owned teams—Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers.

Government did not allocate funding for the project in the 2019/20 budget. It has also not allocated funds for the same in the current provisional four-month budget.

The project was last allocated funding in the 2018/19 Budget when it got K500 million while in the 2017/18 Budget, it got K1.5 billion for designs and start-up work.

However, there is nothing on the ground so far.

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