State of Stadia: Manga works drags on
When the construction of Manga Stadium in Nyamira County kicked off five years ago, it was meant to breath a new life in a county full of sporting talent but devoid of sporting facilities.
The stadium located in Borabu Sub County has consumed a whooping ksh137 million with no much to show for apart from a perimeter wall that surrounds the facility leaving residents with many questions.
In the 2014/2015 financial year, the local government set aside KSh64 million to kick-start its construction followed by another KSh73 million in the 2018/2019 fiscal year to ensure its timely completion.
Earlier this year, the County government went ahead to seek help of the national government in completing claiming they had run short of funds.
Among the features that the stadium should have upon its completion includes; a running track, a pavilion, fans stands, a standard football pitch, treatment area, and standard changing rooms as well as security lights.
However, with the works moving in a snail’s pace, residents are similarly running out of patience with the wait for the new-look stadium not seeming to end anytime soon.
In a spot-check at the facility by Citizen Digital, some of the residents could not hide their frustrations over the protracted works with some even calling upon the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to unearth the mystery behind the same.
“Since construction works started, we have only seen the wall as a major development. The slow pace of construction is killing the morale of local teams that would like to use it for training and official matches,” lamented Charles Miyogo.
The construction works has subsequently rendered the facility inoparative with residents made to look for alternate venues to host major sporting activities within the county.
Nyamira is home to renown world beaters including; Naftali Temu who won Kenya’s first gold in the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, Charles Asati who won 4 × 400 m relay gold at the 1972 Summer Olympics and the late Robert Ouko among others.
Kenya Sevens ace Dennis Ombachi leads the current generation of sporting stars who hail from the County with Gekomoni Secondary School triumph at the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) in 2011 also underlining the sporting potential in the region.
Athletics legend Charles Asati said athletes from the region are forced to cover long distances to seek standard training facilities in the neighbouring Kisii County where they are in turn charged a fee to use the facility.
“They dug and left heaps of soil, which makes it unusable. We would love to teach and train young children, especially during the holidays, but there are no facilities around. Those that choose to travel to Gusii stadium normally use more than Ksh2000 daily,” revealed Asati.
His sentiments were echoed by Athletics Kenya (AK) Nyanza South chairman Peter Angwenyi.
“The residents of the area have been complaining on how the project has stalled many of them blaming the Nyamira County government. However, I feel that they should come clear in their communication on the progress as well as who is in charge of the construction. This delay is hurting young talents who want to emulate other sports greats who hail from the region,” said Angwenyi.
According to Peter Mekenye, who is in charge of the stadium store said the construction of the two-storey pavilion and the fans stand is expected to take longer, pushing the completion date beyond next year.
The delayed completion of its construction has already taken a massive toll on the local community in terms of staging sporting events.