As the battle for three points and supremacy in the TNM Super League is set to resume in April, Karonga United and Chitipa United are at risk of being barred from using the Karonga Stadium as their home ground following concerns over the state of some facilities and the playing surface at the stadium.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) made the stern warning on Tuesday following an inspection of the venue that the two clubs have proposed will be their home in the forthcoming season.
Speaking in an interview after the inspection, FAM’s Transfer and Matching System and Club Licencing Manager Caspar Jangale said from the look of things the ground appears only 60 percent ready to host the upcoming league matches.
He said as the stadium will not only be used by Karonga United but Chitipa too, there are a lot of areas that need working on especially the playing turf and the boundary fence.
“If you look at the entry and exit points there is need to cover them and the state of the pitch as it is now will not handle 30 league matches as it is in a bad condition and we highlighted this last year in our last inspection but it seems the works are still outstanding thus we have warned and given the stadium management 20 days to work on the issues we have highlighted because they are very important,” a frustrated Jangale chirped.
According to Jangale, if the areas will not be worked upon in the set deadline then the Karonga Stadium will not be certified to host matches this season.
“It’s about time we started not approving these stadiums or facilities because we are here to ensure that our football is developing and we are doing that through club licencing where there’s rules and regulations and we believe these rules must be followed by the necessary authorities and in this case the stadium managers,” he articulated.
Reacting to FAM’s warning, Karonga stadium development committee chairperson Kossam Munthali said the committee is appreciative to FAM for their honesty and their desire is to see the stadium in good condition and ready to host matches.
Munthali said the committee will push hard with the district council to fix the minor issues that FAM has asked in the required time frame.
The 5000 capacity stadium was officially opened in January 2018 and last season it hosted a number of notable matches including among others Karonga United’s clashes with Nyasa Big Bullets and BeForward Wanderers as well the Mzuzu derby involving Mzuni Fc and Moyale Barracks.