What you need to know:
- Apart from Kinoru stadium, Sports Kenya was also supposed to rehabilitate two grounds at Meru Teachers College and Meru National Polytechnic where players participating in the Chan tourney could warm up.
- The two fields in the tertiary institutions never received any facelift.
Football stakeholders in Meru County have petitioned the government to open the refurbished Sh900m Kinoru Stadium for sporting activities to help grow talent.
They said the facility, which has been closed for renovations since 2016, was completed in June but Sports Kenya is yet to hand it over to the county government.
Sports Kenya Chairman Charles Waithaka had indicated that former President Uhuru Kenyatta would re-open the facility mid-June but it did not materialise.
Led by Meru Football Kenya Federation chairman Ken Rungu, they said top flight football teams were unwilling to play local teams since other pitches were in a sorry state.
Last Sunday, KCB declined to play against Meru Bombers at Kaaga MCK grounds due to the poor state of the pitch.
The Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno charges had traveled from Nairobi ready to play the Division Two outfit which is marking its 40th Anniversary this week but the state of the pitch forced the bankers to call off the match.
Earlier on this month, Ulinzi Stars also canceled friendlies against Kemu FC and Bombers mainly because of the unavailability of Kinoru stadium.
Meru Bombers patron Martin Nkaari said the situation was denying local talents an opportunity to be spotted as the club hopes for a return to top flight football.
“We were hoping they would scout some of our players but we lost that opportunity. As Meru’s most successful football club and sports organisation over the decades, we have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time," Nkaari stated.
“Over the years, Kinoru Stadium has provided us with a platform to grow our clubs, sports people and others in the arts and culture to a place of national prominence,” said Nkaari.
Meru County Football Association secretary general Razaq Kaimenyi noted that there was a renewed enthusiasm among local footballers since majority were engaged by politicians during the campaigns.
During that period, local players were kept busy by politicians sponsored tournaments where they won cash prizes, jerseys and balls.
In Tigania West for instance, players from close to 80 clubs which participated in the Mutunga’s Cup received football boots donated by their MP John Mutunga.
“We are doing badly and the continued closure of Kinoru Stadium is hurting football despite the stadium being used for other events. We should use it to develop and showcase our talents. Only recently, Harambee Stars ex internationals led by former captain Musa Otieno complained when they played against Al Azizia FC at Irinda Primary school grounds,” notes Kaimenyi.
Kinoru was among the venues that had been selected to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) matches before Kenya was stripped of the rights to host the tournament.
Apart from Kinoru stadium, Sports Kenya was also supposed to rehabilitate two grounds at Meru Teachers College and Meru National Polytechnic where players participating in the Chan tourney could warm up.
The two fields in the tertiary institutions never received any facelift.