State of Stadia: Embu Moi keeps eating up millions
Embu Moi stadium has been the centre of politics in Embu County since the county government came in 2013.
The same stadium almost led to the impeachment of the current Governor Martin Nyaga Wambora in 2014 after it was claimed that the stadium had used Sh50m in renovations that did not reflect in the stadium.
His attempted impeachment was based on accusations he had embezzled Sh32.3m as well as refused to suspend Lorna Kariuki the then County Secretary who was in charge of handling the tender for renovation of Moi Stadium.
The facility has a sitting capacity of 20,000 fans and is situated at the entrance of Embu town along the Nairobi – Meru highway.
In its early days when it showed immense promise, Embu Moi attracted Kenyan Premier League (KPL) teams including AFC Leopards and Tusker FC with the duo going to the extent of writing requests to have the stadium as its home ground.
The Stadium has also hosted rugby tournaments and athletics championships.
In 2013 KPL side AFC leopards took their pre-season in the stadium hoping that the stadium will become their home ground but the then head Coach Jan Koops wasn’t satisfied with its standard saying the county government should work more on the levelling of the pitch, drainage, fencing and changing rooms.
This year, even with the completion of the changing rooms, fencing, terraces and VIP, Tusker FC head Coach Robert Matano was not satisfied with the stadiums standards saying there is more to be done to the stadium.
The stadium does not have a track for the athletics and the poor drainage systems were exposed after the recent rains resulted in flooding of the stadium which has also been a concern to players who use the stadium to practice and play their league matches.
According to Eliud Njiru who trades for Kaa Ngumu FC a county league team says that the stadium has turned to a lake preventing the players to take their normal training session.
“We’re very shocked that our only stadium in Embu town looks like a lake and surprisingly many youths are coming out for training sessions and our main question is, if a two day rainfall can change a stadium to a lake why did the county government give contracts to unprofessional people?” Njiru pleaded.
His sentiments were supported by Esau Murithi who is a FKF official Embu branch saying that Embu stadium is in a deplorable state.”
“The stadium is terrible to every youth who is playing football or is in athletics, the reason being that the stadium is full of water and it is in an unconditional state and my only plea to Governor Martin Wambora is to ensure the stadium is fully completed to the national standard before the end of his tenure,” Esau stated.
“We need carpet in our stadium, renovation of the VIP roof and for the contractor who never finished his work to come back and complete where he left,” he added.
Boaz Simotwa who is an athlete in Embu said that they don’t have track in the stadium and when it rains they have problems running in a muddy track.
On his part the Chief Officer Youth Empowerment and Sports Embu county Samuel Wachira Njue said that the sports-persons using the stadium refused to vacate the stadium to allow renovations to be done.
“The drainage system we constructed was exceeded by the flooding but when we wanted to renovate the drainage system afresh, the youths training in the stadium refused to vacate, but with the situation that we’ve now we’re going to close the stadium to allow renovations starting with the drainage systems,” said Wachira.
The CEO added that they have used Sh87m to build the changing rooms, toilets, VIP, terraces and the perimeter wall but Nathan Kariuki, who sits in the Embu County Government Finance Committee, refutes it.
“Since we started devolution, the stadium has spent more than Sh150m but we can’t see its value in the stadium, I would like to advise the Minister of sports Embu County and the CEO to use the remaining three years to ensure the stadium is in good condition,” Kariuki advised.
Sports stakeholders in Embu County wants the county government to hasten the renovations given that the stadium is attracting KPL teams and for the sake of youths who use the stadium to nature their talents.