What you need to know:
- Kadenge urged the management and the national government to improve the stadium.
- Hassan Wesonga, a staunch fan of Nzoia Sugar FC, also urged the government to step in and revamp the stadium which hosts top-tier league games.
Western Kenya region is well-known for producing some of the best football players in the country.
In a long-standing tradition, when one generation exits the stage young blood steps in to fill the shoes for continuity.
One would expect that the region has proper facilites where talent is developed, but far from it, the reality on the ground paints a different picture.
Sudi Stadium in Bungoma County, which is managed by Nzoia Sugar Company, is the home ground of Football Kenya Federation Premier League side Nzoia Sugar.
The stadium is named after Bukusu paramount chief, Sudi Namachanja, who died in 1971.
The arena which is situated near Nzoia Sugar Factory has a well-tended pitch with lush grass, and is fenced with wire mesh.
The changing room for teams is a small building shared by the hosts and visiting teams.
There are trees at the stadium under which fans can sit and enjoy a match during the hot and dry weather. But the same cannot be said during the rainy season.
Nzoia Sugar FC, who are sixth on the league standings and had been touted as title contenders, mainly use Sudi Stadium for their home league matches, and also training.
When Nation Sport visited the stadium recently, we met Nzoia Sugar FC Chairman Evans Kadenge waiting to welcome us.
Evans is the second-born son of football legend Joe Kadenge who died on July 7, 2019 at a Nairobi hospital aged 84.
As we got ready for the interview, we spotted a water sprinkler on the pitch as the field was being prepared for a league match. Nzoia FC were to face record league champions Gor Mahia at the venue the next day.
Kadenge said that Nzoia Sugar FC’s standards have improved a great deal.
However, the outgoing chairman said that there has been little improvement at the stadium because of the financial challenges that Nzoia Sugar Factory has faced over the years.
“The management has been quite supportive to the team. My opinion is, if we can get sponsors to help improve the stadium to a modern one, we shall be glad as people from this region,” said Kadenge who joined Nzoia FC when he was 20 years old.
“During matches, the stadium is usually full. If we can build proper terraces for spectators, changing rooms and other facilities, this place will look good, and football fans will enjoy watching matches.”
Kadenge said that a good playing surface is essential for the team because it enhances free-flowing football and reduces the risk of injuries on players.
“When I was elected as chairman, I was given a small budget. We graded the pitch and ensured that the grass is well-kept. That is why we have a nice pitch,” he said.
Kadenge urged the management and the national government to improve the stadium.
Hassan Wesonga, a staunch fan of Nzoia Sugar FC, also urged the government to step in and revamp the stadium which hosts top-tier league games.
“As one of the fans, I would like to urge the government to help build a perimeter wall and terraces because during the rainy season, you can’t enjoy a game of football under the trees.
“We also need proper sitting arrangements for both the hosts and the visiting teams. We can find ourselves in a chaotic situation in case there is fan trouble,” said Wesonga, who is fondly known as Joho.
Some of the footballers who have played for Nzoia Sugar FC besides Kadenge are Ulinzi FC head coach Bernard Mwalala, Sofapaka team manager Hillary Echesa, former footballer James Wakhungu Situma and Nairobi City Stars player Noah Biji, who is currently playing for City Stars Football Club.
Others are Brian Otieno (Bandari FC), Kevin Oluoch (assistant coach Migori Youth FC), Ezekiel Odera (coach Wazito FC) , among others.
Tomorrow. Multi-million-shilling Masinde Muliro Kanduyi Stadium in Bungoma taking shape