Kasarani, Going Down The Drain Again?

Aug 22, 2021

Barely two months since the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani was reopened after a two-year closure, its’ new look is under threat, following a series of vandalism.

The stadium, closed down on August 6, 2021 for major renovations is estimated to have cost Sh1 billion in a grant to Kenya by the Chinese government, the original contractors of the 60,000seater stadium.

When the gates to the 1987-built stadium were opened for the Tusker FC versus Oserian league match on June 23, the first action at the venue since Harambee Stars lost 3-2 to Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the 2010 world cup qualifiers, all fans were wowed at the sight of the elegant arena.

Laying of a new synthetic carpet and marking of track lanes were pleasing to the eye, the sprinkling nozzles for irrigating the field were perfectly working, so was the lighting system and the scoreboard. The wash and hand basins and urinals were perfectly completed.

The contractors also made sure they fixed all control panels, unclogged, repaired and repainted the storm water drain pipes.

But after only 56 days, the Sports Stadia Management Board is alarmed at the rate of vandalism of its 25-year-old stadium.

Already, over 40 newly installed seats are reported to have been broken during last week's league match between Sofapaka and Gor Mahia.

Other items that have suffered the wrath of the vandals are washrooms, where some taps have been ripped off, cistern sinks broken and sockets stolen during matches.

“This is just unacceptable. We labored to have these renovations done and it’s quite unfair for a few people to destroy what has taken more than two years to build,” SSMB public relations officer Raki Asman, said, warning that it won’t take long before the stadium returns to its sorry state.

“All the work here was done so that we can all have a good ambiance during matches. But when some fans choose to stand on the plastic chairs instead of sitting. It defeats logic. If this trend continues, we are bound to take the stadium back to its poor state it was in two years ago.”

The renovations had been centred on the main stadium, and have seen world football governing body, Fifa, downgrade the facility to a 35,000 capacity, about 60 percent of its original capacity, citing insecurity.

The Stadion Hotel, a three-star facility that hosts teams playing in or preparing for major competitions, has also been spruced up.

Survey for the renovations by Shengli Engineering Construction Company Limited, the Chinese firm responsible for the repairs, was done five years ago, but it wasn’t until 2010 that the works begun.


 Isaac Mutua

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