Bingu Stadium closed, FAM justifies continued use after ban

BNS closed

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has justified the continued use of the Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe after it was banned, saying the standards for World Cup and CAF games differ.

Twice CAF inspected BNS and rendered it unfit to host Malawi national football team world cup qualifiers which forced it to use Orlando Stadium in South Africa.

Later, the facility hosted the FDH Bank Cup final between Silver Strikers and Ekwendeni Hammers, before the Women Under 20 World Cup qualifiers and the latest is the 2022 Women AFCON qualifiers on Wednesday.

This created a lot of unanswered questions in the football enthusiasts' mind on why the same facility is banned and hosts the same activities.

"The standards of the World Cup games are the highest than those of CAF and all other games. However, FIFA uses CAF to inspect the stadiums on its behalf for logistical convenience. This created a lot of misunderstanding and the Ministry is asking FIFA to change the approach for consistence of the standards of facilities for all international matches.

"However, it was resolved that the facility should be closed to any other football activity to give room and ample time for the Ministry of Youth and Sports to complete the renovations to bring the stadium to a level where FIFA will approve it for future FIFA matches," reads the statement from FAM signed by Director of communications and competition Gomezgani Zakazaka.

According to Zakazaka, the Scorchers' match was the last one on the China-financed facility to pave the way for renovations.

"According to the standard regulations for FIFA sanctioned matches, BNS requires to improve the quality of the pitch, technical benches, furnishing of change rooms, the VIP area, devolution facilities as well as remove permanent advertising at the stadium," he further said.

In the thick of COVID-19 outbreak, the facility was used as an isolation centre.