Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) will fix an artificial turf at Chichiri Upper Stadium hockey ground in Blantyre to improve its standards due to injury concerns by players.
There have been injury concerns on the pitch during matches, making the game not enjoyable for players due to its rough surfaced nature.
Dr. Lameck Fiwa is the General Secretary for Hockey Association of Malawi (HAM), and believes the construction of the stadium will help improve the standards of hockey in Malawi.
“The surface of the stadium we are using is covered with local grass which gets dry and becomes very dangerous to play on. So they want to install an artificial turf on the stadium and we believe this will improve our standard of play for the game,” he said.
Innocent Masangano is a hockey player for Nyala hockey team which finished fifth in the just ending FMB hockey league season. He concurs with the GS and supplements his comment by saying playing on the dry grass pitch negatively affects the growth of a player.
“We are indeed facing challenges due to the poor surface. The poor pitch affects the growth of a player in the sense that learning hockey on this grass makes it a difficult task than on artificial turf, since we are limited to other skills which the grass doesn’t allow you to explore,” Masangano lamented.
Malawi is failing to host international matches due to the poor standard of the pitch, since players from other countries are more familiar to high standards of hockey fields.
The GS further said that once the construction of the pitch is complete, Malawi will now be able to host international matches, and Malawians should expect greater things in hockey.
“Once the construction is complete, you will witness great hockey, and we will now be able to attract teams from other countries and even host international tournaments which we are failing to do at the moment because of the bad state of our infrastructure,” Fiwa said.
The installation process of the artificial turf, which will commence next month with funding from The Malawi Government, will cost over 30 million Malawi Kwacha, and it is due completion in January next year.