Waiting in vain

Waiting in vain

Government’s stadia projects for domestic football powerhouses FCB Nyasa Bullets and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers continue to move at a snail’s pace and they are likely to miss the end-of-the-year completion target.

The two clubs have since said they have not been updated or consulted on the progress of the 10 000-seater projects since they were launched in June 2020.

In a latest development, spokesperson for the Ministry of Youth and Sports McMillan Mwale said in an interview that the works have stalled for some time, having gone back to the drawing board.

“On the new stadiums, works stalled and currently we are working with the contractors to update the bill of quantities and revise the work plans to continue the works,” he said.

And in an interview with MBC Radio 2FM, Mwale was quoted as having said: “We have revised the work plans, the costs have gone up.

“There are some issues, but we are looking at the best way of resolving them.”

He also said they have no target on the completion of the stadia, but early this year, Minister of Youth and Sports Uchizi Mkandawire said they were hoping to complete the projects by the end of this year.

In an interview yesterday, Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said: “Honestly, as a major stakeholder to the project, we are never kept abreast of the developments and the delay is mind boggling.”

On whether they are bothered with the delay of the project, Wanderers acting chief executive officer Roosevelt Mpinganjira said: “We could have been bothered if we were being involved, but we are not being consulted.

“Much as it is a government project. They are doing it for us and at least we expected them to be updating us or seek our views on the project, but we have never been consulted. We are completely in the dark.

“I suggest clubs involved should be incorporated in their task force, assuming there is one so that we give inputs to our needs and requirements. We should be involved from the genesis.”

“Nevertheless, we appreciate government’s gesture, it is a good initiative and in line with our commercialisation plans. As Wanderers, we are happy with it” 

Two years ago, government rebuffed Bullets’ request to consider handing over the project to the club so that they could complete it.

In February this year, government also turned down a request from the two clubs to consider handing over ownership of the stadia to them after completion.

Said the minister:  “They [Bullets and Wanderers] cannot own the facilities because they are being built using public resources. They belong to government.

“So, the facilities belong to government and the two teams will just be using and managing them.

“Once they are ready, we will agree on the terms whether it will be a PPP [public private partnership] or something else. We will come up with an MOU [memorandum of understanding.”

In the current National Budget,  government has allocated K800 million for the projects.

Bullets stadium, which is being built in Zingwangwa Township near Moneymen along Chikwawa Road, was estimated to cost K3.8 billion and the project was awarded to China Civil Engineering.

On the other hand, Wanderers project, located near Blantyre Teachers’ College in Soche, was pegged at K3.6 billion and was awarded to Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company.

The projects were allocated K1.6 billion (K800 million each) in the 2019/20 National Budget, but until this year, they were not allocated any funds.

Government, through immediate-past president Peter Mutharika pledged to construct the two stadia during the 2019 Tripartite Elections campaign period.

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