Upon visiting the newly built Bingu National Stadium in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, a person is likely to mistake it for the Levi Mwanawasa stadium which stands in Ndola, Zambia.
The structures are almost an item with a few hardly identified points of distinction. Having a common ancestor, the Chinese government, explains it all but it’s a question of which features match and which differ.
Both named after the two countries’ late leaders, Bingu wa Mutharika and Levi Mwanawasa, the stadiums have a similar design with covered stands parallel to the football ground’s length, facing each other likewise open stands which parallel its width.
Other shared characteristics are position of the big screens as they were all fixed at the open stands just behind goals, an Olympic style that has a brown coloured runway with white lines surrounding the pitch, and colours used at the stands which are blue and yellow.
However the difference lies in capacity as the Zambian facility is bigger than the one in Malawi. The Levi Mwanawasa stadium has a capacity of 49800 whereas the Bingu Stadium has a 40, 000 capacity.
While Malawians await the grand opening of the Bingu stadium which is almost finished, Zambians had their facility opened in 2012, a year in which that country’s national football team won the African Cup of Nations that was held in Gabon.
The date for the opening of the Bingu Stadium remains unknown. Media reports indicate that electricity is yet to be connected at the site which may affect plans to have it ready by the end of September.