Fifa has given Malawi the all-clear to play their forthcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Namibia and Kenya at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The Football Association of Malawi (Fam) were given the go ahead to use the venue by Fifa following a visit by an inspection team last week.
The government closed the stadium last August due to safety and security fears.
Repairs have since been carried out at the stadium and it has hosted several club matches.
Malawi’s interim coach Edington Ng’onamo had suggested that Fam ask Fifa if the Kamuzu Stadium could be re-opened for international games.
“In recent years Malawi has done well using the artificial turf at Kamuzu stadium and so we feel Malawi stand a better chance of winning against Namibia and Kenya in June if the games are played in Blantyre,” he explained.
“Our players are more used to the artificial turf than any other pitch in the country and at the same time our opponents struggle at the Kamuzu Stadium due to the nature of the pitch.
“Technically I noted that Malawi struggled in their last home match in October last year at Civo Stadium against Ghana during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final qualification match. No wonder the Black Stars won the game.”
Fam general secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda explained the issues which forced the closure of the stadium had been taken care of by the Malawi government, which has cordoned off the affected stands and reduced its capacity further.
“Our top local sides Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers have played at the Kamuzu Stadium since it reopened with no incidents,” he explained.
“All we need now is to tighten safety and security during matches”.
Of the 15 matches Malawi have played at Kamuzu Stadium since 2008, they have won 11 drawn twice and lost just twice.
The Flames, who only trail Nigeria on goal difference in Group F of the World Cup qualifiers, host Namibia on 5 June before taking on Kenya a week later in the race to reach Brazil in 2014.
Fam has also announced that Malawi will tune up for those World Cup qualifiers with a friendly against Zimbabwe at the Kamuzu Stadium on 25 May.
RSG Restates Commitment To Youth Dev Via Sports
The Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on School Sports, Chief Aribitonye Okiri, has said that the state government-led by Chief Nyesom Wike, is committed to develop youths in the State through sports.
He stated that it is not in doubt that the State has hidden talents at the grassroots that are yet to be discovered.
Chief Okiri, said this at the finals of the National School Sports Competition held at Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
According to him, Governor Wike is poised to reach out to young ones in all the local government areas, in the state and engage them with sporting activities in a bid to discover hidden talents.
“As I speak, the governor has reiterated his desire to reach out to the children in all parts of the state and unearth their talents through engagement in sports, believing that all Rivers children are talented” Chief Okiri said.
Also speaking, the second Vice President of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Pastor Emmanuel Ebong, thanked Governor Wike, for proving a worthy partner of NSSF and appeal to other corporate organisations to emulate Nigeria Breweries Ltd in partnering NSSF in sports development.
At the end of the final competition, Community Secondary School, Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, dominated the medal table.
24 States Set For Lagos Athletics Championship
The Lagos State Athletics Association has confirmed the entry of 24 states and some clubs for its lucrative Athletics Meet fixed for Thursday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship made the disclosure at the weekend even as he hinted a few other states may still join the already confirmed 24 states and clubs.
He said: “Yes, we are very much on track for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship which will be coming up this Thursday.
“Right now, we already have 24 states and some top racing clubs that have confirmed their participation, a few more may join before we close the window.”
The Lagos Open Athletics Championship is a one-day meet simultaneously serving as another qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
In the past days, Lagos has been a beehive of activities with the National trials at the Yaba College of Technology Sporting complex and now the train is moving to the heart of the city in Surulere as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics continues to gather momentum.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship includes the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and 100 meters.
There would also be top-quality action across the relay events including; the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as 4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been penciled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Championship.
Already, the top three finishers across all the events have been assured mouthwatering prizes by the organisers.
Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials
Blessing Okagbare will be heading to Tokyo Olympics in the best form of her life after running the second fastest time in the world this season.
The 32-year-old ran 10.63 seconds to win the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos on Thursday.
The 10.63 seconds time saw her tie with Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’ best time in 2021 ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Okagbare ran 10.99 seconds in the semifinal of the event to set a new championship record , and before clocking 10.63 seconds in the final to set a new record. The scorching 10.63 time is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster. The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season.
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