What you need to know:
- County Chief of Staff says it will be Gor Mahia’s home ground
- The project stalled after Nema stopped it in 2014 and payment of the contractor was also delayed
- The county government had set aside Sh369 million for the stadium, but promises to complete the mega project remain empty
The County Government of Homa Bay has yet again given a new June deadline to finish construction of Homa Bay Stadium which began in 2014.
Soon after the project kicked off, the National Environmental Authority (Nema) stopped it citing non-compliance with regulations. The matter was solved in 2019, and construction work resumed.
The county government had set aside Sh369 million for the stadium, but promises to complete the mega project remain empty.
And as the region is grappling with a shortage of sporting facilities, young talents are going to waste.
Since the introduction of devolution in 2013, the county government has not done anything notable in sports. But authorities now say that the stadium, which is located along the Homa Bay-Rongo road, will be ready by the end of June.
Homa Bay is the historical home of record Football Kenya Federation Premier League champions Gor Mahia Football Club which traces its roots to Ndhiwa Sub-County, where Gor Mahia, a paramount chief, hailed from.
Ironically, there is no stadium in Homa Bay for the team, which arguably has the biggest following in Kenya, to host its home matches. As a result, Gor Mahia is using Moi Stadium in Kisumu County as their home ground.
Speaking to Nation Sport on Wednesday, Homa Bay County Chief of Staff Eliud Otieno said that they have instructed the contractor to finish the project by June.
“The construction of the 15,000-seater capacity stadium is expected to be completed by the end of June. Upon completion, it will be the home ground for our beloved Gor Mahia. Both national and international sports activities will also be held at the stadium,” said Otieno.
Work that was supposed to have been done at the site includes clearing and levelling of the playing ground, putting up the main pavilion, laying of a murram running track, installation of an underground irrigation system and a drainage system.
A spot check by Nation Sport on Wednesday established that the contractor had so far cleared the site, erected a perimeter wall, levelled the playing surface and built an office store. A foundation for a murram running track had been done, and pipes for installation of underground irrigation were at the site.
The main pavilion that will accommodate 5,000 people is nearing completion. Under the pavilion, which has an overlapping roof to cover spectators, there are offices that will house officials of the sports department.
Two new changing rooms fitted with modern amenities have been incorporated in the main pavilion.
Workers from Six Eleven Construction Limited, a company that was awarded the stadium tender, are racing against time to complete the project within two months.
The site manager Abdihakim Mukutar said that the pavilion should be ready in two weeks, after which they will start working on the playing surface and the running track.
Mukutar said that the county government had paid part of the money, and that is why they are working round the clock to finish work within the shortest time possible.
“We are putting the final touches on the pavilion after which we will embark on the running track and the playing surface,” Mukutar said.
Other features expected at the stadium, once its finished, include four other pavilions that can hold 3,000 people, six spectator stands with a capacity of 2,000 people each and an inner perimeter.
Homa Bay Branch Football Kenya Federation Chairman Samuel Ondiek regretted that there is a lot of untapped talent in the region because upcoming sportsmen and women do not have a training ground.
The county government has been at pains to explain why the multi-million shilling project is yet to materialise.