Some people will tell you that a promise is a debt but is it politically? That remains a question unanswered over years, decades and even centuries. Back to reality, Kenya is expected to host Chan Competitions in 2018 and while it seems distant, there’s little to speak of in terms of progress on the ground. The World Youth Athletics Championship in 2017 is also in sight already and it appears that all that the NOCK and sports ministry antagonism is doing is pretty much a big distraction.
The key question we should be asking ourselves is how prepared are we in terms of infrastructure? The big government dream carried with it a promise of five new Stadiums in Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Mombasa and Garissa. This could have served as a big step in nurturing local talent, improving local premier league and cups but most importantly promoting sports tourism in the name of hosting international competitions. Currently, Kenya boasts of two stadiums that have the ability to be home to international events; Nyayo and Kasarani Stadiums. The Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani was constructed back in 1987 ahead of the All African games which were hosted in Nairobi. The multi-purpose stadium consists of a 60,000 seat arena with modern running track and a pitch that has been widely used for football and rugby. It’s also home to a 5,000 seater indoor arena for volleyball and indoor games and an aquatic complex. Nyayo stadium on the other hand is a 30,000 seater stadium. Courtesy of the FIFA Goal project we’ve also seen the upgrade of Nairobi City Stadium and Moi Stadium, Kisumu. Both have AstroTurfs but lack modern sitting areas. Various county governments have also been on point trying to improve their county stadiums but it remains to be seen if the National Government shares the same sentiments. The closest we’ve come to seeing this promise off is a budgetary allocation of Ksh 1.8 billion back in the 2015/16 Financial year which was set to build new stadia in Eldoret, Nairobi and Mombasa. This followed the appointment of The Stadium Consultancy, a Dutch Company that is currently undertaking major projects in Netherlands, Qatar, Italy and Russia to name a few, in October 2015 but that’s how far we’ve come.
It would be interesting to see if we can borrow from our close neighbors who have been doing a pretty good job in terms of stadiums. Ethiopia stands out as big example with Adey Abeba , Mekelle , Bahir Dar and Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi projects raising eyebrows. Sudan’s Al-Merreikh Stadium is also a big upgrade while Tanzania’s Benjamin Mkapa Stadium is something to hum about.
On the international scale we’ve been doing pretty awesome with the annual Sevens Rugby competition proving we are capable of hosting major tournaments. The World cross country back in 2007 was huge success and still remains the benchmark event. Tremendous steps have been made in terms of setting up Local Organizing Committees for both upcoming events and we should be all smiles.
Still optimistic in asking “Where are our Stadiums?”