By Duncan Mlanjira
Hockey Association of Malawi (Ham) says it is working tirelessly to ensure that the dream to have a hockey stadium at Upper Kamuzu Stadium a reality.
Ham acting general secretary Chigomezgo Thindwa said they made a special presentation at the African Hockey Federation (AfHF) Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa in November last year lobbying for an artificial turf for the project.
“Since then, we have engaged the AfHF and Federation of International Hockey directly on the project and we believe there will be positive support for the turf for Malawi,” Thindwa said. “It requires commitment from all stakeholders but we are optimistic we will get there within the next two years.”
He added that the Malawi government, through Malawi National Council of Sports, have been the primary financiers of the stadium project and that their support has been immesurable.
“Infrastructure development is a capital intensive undertaking and artificial turf is an expensive component of the stadium project. Creativity is a must in the financing of such endeavours and the Hockey Association stadium project team is working hard to get the necessary support from all resources available from all who have a passion and love for the sport of hockey,” Thindwa said.
He added that they also receive support from the corporate world such as Monolux Paints, LaFarge Cement and Barloworld.
“The hockey stadium project has been a labour of love and a lot of dedication and passion has gone into making it a reality. It was in 1994 that the upper stadium was allocated to hockey, the culmination of an 18-year lobbying process with one [Ham] president [Tochi Gill], five ministers of finance and five ministers of sports.
“Initially, raising funds to kick start the project was an immense problem as getting support for such a big undertaking was very challenging.
“A new partnership based concept was submitted to Sports Council two years ago and the project was basically broken down into phases so that funds could be utilised for each phase.
“Substantial progress has been made such as construction of the security fence, drilling of a borehole, laying of grass pitch and commencing construction of ablution block.
“As with all government supported projects, prevailing economic and socio-political factors always have some impact on the level of funding available at any given time. That is always the challenge but Ham is fighting to ensure that the hockey stadium becomes a reality soon,” Thindwa said.