Malawi demand qualifier against Nigeria be moved to Abuja

The Football Association of Malawi has written to Fifa to move their decisive World Cup qualifier from the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar to the National Stadium in Abuja

As the battle for the leadership of Group F in the 2014 Fifa World Cup, Africa qualifiers gathers momentum, the Malawian football governing body has made a passionate appeal to Fifa to move the encounter against Nigeria from Calabar to the Abuja National Stadium.

According to FAM's letter to Fifa, "There is security risk in Calabar where the match will be played, as reported by the Commonwealth Commission. The venue of the match is risky to our delegation and we would like Fifa to shift the match to Abuja or to a neutral country where our delegation will be safe.

"Calabar has been flagged as a high-risk security area and this alert cannot be taken lightly. Our Minister of Sports will be part of the travelling delegation and we do not want to take security risks by travelling to Calabar."

Earlier on, Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet who volunteered to lead the Flames against the Super Eagles, voiced out his inconvenience with the match being played in Calabar.

"Nigeria would like to play in Calabar because it is close to Cameroon in the south-east of Nigeria - not so easy to reach with the only connection via Lagos and Abuja but with no international flights," Saintfiet told the media. 

"There are not so many hotels available so it will be very difficult to get there. I have one question also about security because the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office says it is a no-travel area,” he said

"Fifa may have to think of shifting the match either to Abuja or to another place outside Nigeria because Calabar is obviously not the capital and it is not a big city. The accommodation is not good for such a big game.

"But I think it is also a plan by Nigeria. They try to disturb their opponents on and off the pitch. So in all the ways we must be prepared as top professionals to try to find solutions and make good plans," concluded Saintfiet.

The Malawians also protested over the appointment of referee Hamada Nampiandraza who they claimed gave a below par performance at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.