Old habits die hard. While international sports bodies like Fifa and Confederation of African Football are strict on limiting capacity at match venues, Bingu National Stadium (BNS) organising committee has resolved to defy the facility’s official capacity.
According to the committee’s Media and Publicity Sub- Committee Chairman, Gedion Munthali, about 60,000 spectators will be allowed into the stadium for free to witness the ceremony. This is against the facility’s official capacity of 40,000.
Munthali said the decision has been made to ensure that as many Malawians as possible witness the memorable event.
“This is a great occasion for all Malawians. We want to accommodate as many people into the stadium as we can. The official capacity is for seats in the stadium which means we can still take in more,” Munthali explained.
He said the committee would also double the number of police personnel at the stadium to more than 1,000 during the event. He said there would also be tight security in Lilongwe to ensure an incident-free occasion.
“We will need tight security to control the movement of people in the stadium. We noted with concern that, during the Luso TV Bus Ipite Bonanza, some spectators invaded the VIP [section] and caused nasty scenes there. We want people to be orderly on this great day,” Munthali said.
One of the incidents that stood out on the day was the alleged slapping of Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Principal Secretary, Samson Madula. The altercation took place when Madula tried to stop a Nyasa Big Bullets fan, Beleti Severe, from sitting in the VIP section.
Severe is alleged to have slapped Madula, forcing police to arrest him. He is currently on bail.