Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama on Sunday commissioned the Hockey Stadium in Blantyre as Malawi plans to host the Africa Hockey Club Championship next year.
The launch comes four years down the line after the stadium project was awarded to the country. The hockey stadium is located at Kamuzu Stadium upper ground in Blantyre.
In his remarks, Msungama said the pitch will help improve the standards of the sport in the country.
“As government we are very delighted having this pitch operational here in Blantyre. Government is very committed to support all sport activities in the country.
“The coming in of this pitch will improve the standards of Hockey in Malawi, the good example is that, Malawi next year will host African club competition this is quite good development,” He said
The minister further promised to push for funding allocation in the mid-year budget review to complete the construction of dressing rooms at the stadium.
“With the competition ahead of us there is need for funding to complete some of the works remaining here. My ministry will do what it takes to source more money so that this stadium should have all the requirements,” he explained.
In his remarks, President for African Hockey Federation Seif Ahmed urged all stakeholders involved in hockey to create a marketing strategy in sourcing money which will be used for maintaining the facility.
“It was our dream as African Federation of Hockey and Hockey Association of Malawi, we dream a lot and now it has come true. I want to see more youths in the country embracing the pitch because the turf without activities it is nothing. I want to see local leagues and African Federation events taking place.
“Let me urge authorities to start planning now on how to source money to buy another turf once the current one expires in 10 years to come,” Ahmed said.
On his part, General Secretary for Hockey Association of Malawi (HAM) Dr Lameck Hiwa said they will set up a committee which will be handling all activities at the stadium in accordance with the guidelines.
Hiwa said they have already planned on how the facility will be looked into in terms of maintenance of the pitch and preventing it from vandalism.
Clifton Civil and Building contractors constructed the stadium and Germany based turf installation experts laid the turf sent by the Federation International in Charge.
In 2016, Hockey Association of Malawi (Ham) won the International Hockey Federation (FIH)’s Pablo Negro Award worth K285 million ($400, 000) which went towards to the installation of an astro-turf and floodlights at the National Hockey Stadium.