Kasarani reopening close, others far from near
Contractors at the Nyayo and Kasarani Stadiums are burning the midnight oil as they seek to solve the venues puzzle affecting local clubs.
The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) has been worst hit following the closures of the two stadiums as well as the ‘forgotten’ City Stadium and Meru County’s Kinoru Stadium.
Officials indicated Friday the facilities should be ready by ‘early next month’, potentially easing the burdens on KPL, National Super League (NSL) and Kenyan Women Premier League (KWPL) which demand venues day in day out.
The Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos has been the unfortunate casualty of the shortage, hosting a minimum five matches per week since the turn of the year and now football stakeholders are demanding for speedy completion of the renovations.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa hailed the progress at Kasarani, calling for similar pace in the other venues.
“We need the stadia finished like yesterday. The delayed renovations are causing major issues in planning for our premier and national league matches because the usable fields are few, and will soon need time to be revamped, like the Machakos Stadium.
“I’m confident that the Hull City match will be played at Kasarani because only a few details are remaining,” Mwendwa said, referring to the May tour of Nairobi by the English Championship side.
He also insisted rumors that the federation was considering to take the Harambee Stars versus Ghana 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifier match to Tanzania were untrue.
The clash, slated for September 7, was reported by a section of local media to be headed for Dar es Salaam, for lack of a CAF ratified venue.
Gor Mahia FC CEO Lodvick Aduda told Citizen Digital the record KPL champions have been feeling the pinch of the delayed renovations.
According to Aduda, Gor had mulled the idea of playing their CAF Cup Group D home matches away from the country.
“We have experienced a lot of inconsistency in regards to our official home stadium, since the closure of City Stadium. We moved to Nyayo, which was also closed forcing us to turn to Machakos. It has affected us in terms of revenue because the number of fans in the field is reducing drastically, considering the distance,” Aduda lamented.
In Meru, the Kinoru Stadium contractor is unlikely to beat the April 30th deadline, with roofing of terraces, VIP dais, changing rooms, power house and media center yet to be completed.
“About 60% of the expected work is remaining. We will be through with the dais by end month. Grass will also be laid on the pitch beginning of next week,” said the foreman on the ground on condition of anonymity.
A first football match could be played in the venue on the eve of Madaraka Day, after President Uhuru Kenyatta leads the country in celebrations at the Kinoru National Stadium.
The contractors will then move to the Nyayo National Stadium before winding up the job at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Uasin Gishu County.
“We expect all the work be complete by June and have the stadiums ready for use the same month,” Sports Principal Secretary Ambassador Kirimi Kaberia said.
With no alternatives in sight, athletes in Eldoret have been forced to train at the sub-par Kapsabet Stadium and the University of Eldoret Grounds.
When contacted by Chamgei FM, Usain Gishu Sports Officer David Letting who doubles up as an athletics coach, declined to comment on the matter pointing out the stadium is under Sports Kenya.
Renovations on the four stadiums began last year in August and were scheduled to be completed by December 15, for the purpose of hosting the African Nations Championship (CHAN) which was later moved to Morocco.
-Martin Mwenda (Muuga FM) and Cyrus Sholim (Chamngei FM) contributed to this report.