THE Management of the Sokoine Memorial Stadium in Mbeya said renovation works on the pitch have been completed hence they are now waiting inspection exercise from the Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB) officials.
This was disclosed on Friday by the Stadium' s Manager, Modestus Mwaluka, who insisted that all the upgrading works are completed and fans are eager to witness the upcoming Mainland Premier League match between Mbeya City and Lipuli FC set for February 18th to be staged there.
“At last, the pitch has returned to normal and fit to host league matches. We want our teams to return home since their fans have missed them (teams) a lot,” Mwaluka said.
He continued: “Our hope is to watch the game between Mbeya City and Lipuli inaugurating the newly refurbished pitch. Mbeya football fans have been waiting to see their two teams back home and time has come since the pitch is 100 per cent ready to be used.”
Mwaluka further encouraged Mbeya supporters to start coming in big numbers to the Stadium to cheer their teams as one way to facilitate good results.
“When the two teams were playing their home league matches away, we received a lot of complaints from them (fans) that they are missing league games. Now that the pitch is ready, we want to see them physically at the stadium,” said he.
However, in his immediate reaction, TPLB Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Almasi Kasongo has since asked the concerned authorities at the stadium to officially write a letter on the completion of the renovation exercise.
“They should write a formal letter to us before we deploy our team to do final assessment of the pitch to see whether it is capable to stage league matches,” he said.
TPBL in conjunction with the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) suspended the venue from hosting Mainland Premier League, First Division League (FDL) and Second Division League (SDL) matches after it was badly damaged following a music concert which was held on Christmas Day last year.
After the suspension, two top flight league teams from Mbeya which are Tanzania Prisons and Mbeya City shifted to Dodoma and Iringa respectively, where their home games were being played.
The first match to be affected by the ban was between Tanzania Prisons and Young Africans, which was later played at a neutral venue Samora Stadium in Iringa and the latter won 1-0 to end the former' s then unbeaten run in the league.
However, life has so far been tough for Mbeya City, who are not safe from the relegation jaws as they sit 19th on the table with 18 points after 21 games, hence winning their upcoming matches will do better for them.
On the other hand, their brothers Tanzania Prisons are 12th on the ladder with 25 points after 20 outings.