Blantyre teams and soccer fans can now breathe a sigh of relief after Minister of Youth and Sports Enock Chihana Saturday declared the banned Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre open for high profile games.
Chihana opened the stadium Saturday after the fast-tracked cordoning off of the stadium's high security risk areas, which has cost the government over K20 million, was completed.
The minister, dressed in Mandela-styled shirt, appeared ease and bashed the soccer fans for threatening to march to the Presidential Palace of Sanjika in Blantyre in protest over the closure of the stadium for denying them a chance to watch high professional matches.
He said the closure of the stadium was done after being advised by structural engi¬neers that the country's soccer mecca was a death trap.
"Issues of buildings are serious in nature. It's up to structural engineers to advise us because nobody including a minister can know anything," Chihana said.
"If a disaster can occur at the stadi¬um while we all watch it's the minister who takes the flak and could be jailed for manslaughter for negligence."
He said the work done by Steel In¬dustries Engineering was recommended as a temporary measure to enable Blan-tyre teams not to travel long distances to play their matches.
"We would not have rushed to do the cordoning off ourselves because we wanted it to be done by professionals so that should anything happens they should be able to answer being profes¬sionals," he said.
"What I have seen here is good work and there's no hiding place."
But the outspoken minister cau¬tioned fans not to invade the banned areas because he would not hesitate to effect another closure.
"As government I would like to say that we have re-opened the stadium but it's up to Sulom to decide whether to fix games even today or not," he said, to the cheers of supporters who were at the sta¬dium.
"But you should be responsible be¬cause if I will be informed that a sup¬porter has encroached the cordoned off areas I will close it again."
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Justin Saidi said the contractors worked around the clock to complete it in one week instead of two weeks.
Sulom president Innocent Bottoman said it was good news for Blantyre based clubs.
"We are excited because it is some¬thing we did not expect that the stadium will be re-opened by minister today," Bottoman said.
"Clubs in Blantyre were travelling long distances to play their homes games while the fans were denied to a chance to watch their teams."
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said they were discussing with Bullets officials and security personnel to have the game between Bullets and Mafco played at Kamuzu Stadium Sunday.
The game went on as scheduled with Bullets FC drawing two all against Mafco.
Malawi National Council of Sports' sports development officer Ruth Mz¬engo, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda, who was among high profile fig¬ures.
The cordoning off has reduced the capacity to 16,500 fans.