By Mphatso John Sam, MANA
Government through the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development has taken a step ahead in kick-starting the construction of Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Be Forward Wanderers stadiums.
President Professor Peter Mutharika pledged to construct stadia for the two age-old archrivals in January this year during a whistle stop tour of Blantyre City.
Blantyre City Council, Malawi National Council of Sports and the line Ministry of Sports which was tasked for the identification of land for the construction of the stadia, identified Moneymen site for the construction of Bullets’ stadium and Soche-Manje site for Wanderers stadium, respectively.
Speaking during the official handover of the land to the two clubs, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Grace Chiumia said government was set to meet the contractor to discuss the exact date for the beginning of the construction works.
“The first promise was to identify land for the construction of the two stadiums and that step has been done and I’m very happy to report to the nation that the pieces of land have been identified and handed over to the two clubs.
“The construction works are going to start very soon but we can’t give you the exact dates because they are several steps to be taken and after completing all the processes such as planning, surveying and design scrutiny, the construction will begin,” Chiumia said.
Chiumia added that funds for the two projects have already been secured and that the project is just waiting for the outcome of the meeting between the Ministry and the contractor.
Bullets Chief Executive Officer, Fleetwood Haiya said government is yet to give the club the architectural plans for the stadium. He asked government that the stadium should not be less than 20, 000 seating capacity.
“The land has been allocated to us from the government and it is the same government that will construct the stadium. It’s not everything that we want is going to be built here by the government. We will also take our part as a club.
“It is in our vision to have a stadium which can host international matches. This project will be entirely government constructing the stadium and we will come up with our own infrastructure, if for example, the government doesn’t construct a club house,” Haiya said.
While expressing gratitude to government for the allocation of land to the Lali Lubani outfit, Wanderers Chairperson, Gift Mkandawire said the area is spacious enough to cater for all of the team’s vision of a stadium.
“The government has not just only allocated this land to us but they will also construct the facility for us – we will just receive a final product. The land is more than five hectares and using a scale of 100 by 50, we could even build more stadiums on this land,” Mkandawire observed.
Bullets Director of Supporters, Stone Mwamadi and Wanderers Chairperson of Supporters for Chilobwe Township Zone, Joseph Damiano were all over the moon, saying the gesture demonstrates government’s commitment to improving sports in the country, football in particular.
The Bullets Moneymen site is 6.3 hectares while Wanderers Soche-Manje area is 5.47 hectares big. Earlier, Bullets identified land for the project in Ngumbe near Kameza Round-about while the Nomads identified Chichiri but both pieces of land were deemed not fit by government.