Karuturi Stadium’s fame now a distant memory
What you need to know:
- It was the home ground for Sher Agencies, later Karuturi FC which, despite being a mid-table team, toyed with their opponents whenever they came calling for their away games
- The pitch was rendered unplayable, with the only hope lying on receding lake levels
- Crayfish Camp chief executive officer Peter Mehta said that work will begin soon and is expected to be completed between August and September
It was one of the well maintained football grounds in the country with teams from Nairobi using it as their home ground.
Football lovers nicknamed it “Old Trafford” , the home of one of the most successful clubs in the English game — Manchester United.
Karuturi Stadium was once a famous name and needed no introduction.
It was the home ground for Sher Agencies, later Karuturi FC which, despite being a mid-table team, toyed with their opponents whenever they came calling for their away games.
Even formidable sides such Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards found it tough to get a point at Karuturi grounds.
Karuturi FC’s raucous fans did not disappoint either, and always turned up in large numbers to cheer on their team, knowing too well that the will be thoroughly entertained.
Elite teams enjoyed playing in Naivasha because the management of Karuturi FC ensured that the pitch was top-notch.
Lethal striker Jacob “Abu” Omondi is one of the players who excelled for the home team. Crawling out of the woods to later make a mark was mercurial defender David “Calabar” Owino, and another player who plied his trade at the grounds was Francis “Killer” Odour.
At one time, the Ghana national team trained at the grounds.
But the glory days have faded.
A visit to the once famous stadium leaves one wondering what went wrong.
The pitch is in a sorry state; the ground is bumpy and the goalposts are rusty.
With the collapse of Karuturi FC, the pitch is not used frequently used. The situation is exacerbated by the rising water levels at Lake Naivasha.
For almost one year, half of the pitch was waterlogged and the perimeter fence has also become corroded.
The fury of Mother Nature is still evident; Karuturi’s fortunes have nosedived…better days have gone by. The pitch was rendered unplayable, with the only hope lying on receding lake levels.
Those accustomed to the beautiful grounds are taken aback whenever they go to the shores of Lake Naivasha to catch a glimpse of the largely nocturnal hippos whiling away their day under the cover of water.
But the management has promised to revamp the once famous facility.
Crayfish Camp chief executive officer Peter Mehta said that work will begin soon and is expected to be completed between August and September.
“We expect to use slightly more than Sh1 million to restore the pitch back to its former glory,” he said.
In an interview with Nation Sport, Mehta said he has been approached by several clubs in the league to use the pitch as their home ground.
“The requests are coming in thick and fast, but the prudent thing to do is to repair the facility,” he said, adding that they are still weighing their options.
“First things first. Let us have the pitch in place then we shall be making considerations,” said Mehta.
The major work at the stadium includes erecting a dais and terraces and leveling the playground.
“We are optimistic that bringing back football at the grounds will help grow the hotel business that was affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the rising water levels of Lake Naivasha,” said the hotelier.
The completion of the stadium will herald better days for football lovers in the lakeside town.