Blantyre based supporters can afford a sigh of relief after Minister of Youth Development and Sports Enoch Chihana on Wednesday announced that the Kamuzu Stadium would be reopened within three to four weeks.
The minister had earlier indicated that the stadium would not be re-opened but after a highly strung meeting with the supporters and club officials at the stadium, Chihana rescinded his decision.
Following the decision the minister said it would close the affected stands and allow only Super League games to take place at the stadium within four weeks.
“What we have done is to temporarily allow Super League games to take place at the stadium after closing the affected stands,” Chihana said.
“This decision has been made collectively with all stakeholders. And the reason is that Blantyre has a problem of stadiums and we would like to alleviate that.”
When asked if he had bowed down to pressure from the supporters when the stadium was not safe, the minister said he had done so after thorough consultations.
“I did not close the stadium permanently. The decision was made to give time to structural engineers to submit their reports before a final decision was made,” he said.
“And after the reports from four structural engineers came out with almost the same recommendations, and after meeting the supporters, this is what we have agreed to do.”
The meeting started with the tour of the stadium in which ministry’s structural engineers explained the state of the stadium.
After the tour, the supporters were asked to present their grievances.
Chairman of the supporters Steve Chibambo and Mighty Wanderers general secretary David Kanyenda reiterated in their petition that the stadium should be reopened because the closure was a burden to Blantyre teams in terms of the cost for travelling to fulfill fixture outside the city.
Chihana has since instructed his ministry to start making estimates on what it would cost to cordon off the affected parts of the stadium’s stands so that the facility can start hosting games again.
The minister said they would use corrugated iron and barbed wire at the top to keep away supporters from the closed stands.
The supporters welcomed the development and pledged to sit within the opened stands