Lo and behold, ultramodern 20,000-capacity Afraha Stadium coming up 

Afraha Stadium

Workers at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru City rush against time to complete Phase One of the multimillion project on April 17, 2023.

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Afraha Stadium has been home to many top flight football clubs of Kenya over the years.

The first phase of the upgrading of Afraha Stadium in Nakuru city into an ultra-modern facility is almost complete.

The upgrading of the historic stadium situated along Moi Road was started in 2021 and was originally scheduled to take 14 months but is now expected to be completed at the end of next month.

The upgrade has been funded by the World Bank through the Kenya Urban Support Programme.

Afraha Stadium

Workers at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru City rush against time to complete Phase One of the multimillion project on April 17, 2023.
 

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

It will be in three phases at an estimated cost of Sh4 billion over the next five years. The first phase will cost Sh651m.

Once complete, the stadium will have a seating capacity of 20,000, up from the current capacity of about 8,000, an all-weather running track, a modern football pitch, modern changing rooms, VIP stands, main stands, media rooms, parking, and a restaurant among other amenities.

It will also have several jogging lanes, about 12 entry and exit gates, six ramps to cater for the disabled, toilets, offices and accommodation units.

“The construction of phase one is about 80 per cent complete and is supposed to end by June.

“I am closely monitoring the progress on a weekly basis and I’m optimistic the contractors will keep their promise,” said Josephine Achieng the County Executive Committee Member in charge of Gender, Sports, and Social Services.

On a visit to the sight you will not fail to notice at the centre of the pitch a man called Davies “Super” Omweno, as he watches workers load and unload materials, tools, and equipment while welders heat heavy metal pipes and plumbers tighten pipes.

Omweno is closely monitoring the group of about 100 men and women working on the rooftop while others install windows on the main stand.

Omweno could easily be mistaken for a contractor, but is not part of the construction team. He is, in fact, here on a different mission.

Omweno, 39, is a Fifa referee who is widely regarded as Kenya’s top football official. He is at Afraha to witness the first phase of the upgrading of the popular stadium, probably one of the best-known football venue in the country outside.

“I’m happy Afraha Stadium is taking shape and hopefully in the next couple of months it will be ready. I have missed officiating matches on this ground,” said Omweno.

“As a referee, I pray that the construction work ends before August because this stadium is a breeding ground for football talents and many budding players are yearning to play at this iconic grounds.”

Afraha Stadium

Workers at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru City rush against time to complete Phase One of the multimillion project on April 17, 2023.

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

Omweno lifts his left hand up and points at the centre of the pitch as if signalling the end of the match and moves away from the construction site amidst the deafening sound of the heavy-duty machines clattering and clanging.

The contractor, M/S Lexis International Ltd, was expected to hand the project to the county government by the end of May last year but work was delayed by red tape and funds. 
It took long to obtain approval from the authorities to reroute a sewer line and electricity line that was passing through the main stand.

And then of course there was also the delay in payment to the contractor.

But all that is now in the past. The upgrading of the 73–year-old stadium to international standards that kicked off on April 30, 2021 is truly on course to be completed. 

The dressing rooms for home and away teams are almost ready and are now being fitted with drawers and tiles. Toilet fittings are also ongoing.

“The referees' resting room and a gymnasium are ready and what is remaining is electrical wiring,” said a worker at the site.

A special room for the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) is also part of the infrastructure.

Windows and tiles have been fitted while plumbing work in the VIP stands and main stand are almost complete. 

The restaurant is also almost complete while the home and away team rooms are at the tail end of completion. The main work remaining is roofing and workers have been bringing the structure to life, steel beam by steel beam.

The construction work at the famous “Russian” stand is also progressing well with the workers doing overtime to complete the roofing works and fitting tiles on time.

Work is also going on simultaneously to prepare the running track.

Excavation and stripping away of the top soil has been done together with levelling of the track. The next stage will be laying the asphalt and then the tartan track to truly turn Afraha into a world class facility.

Afraha will become the only stadium in Nakuru County to have a tartan running track
Work on the pitch is also progressing well and several water sprinklers have been fitted at strategic points to irrigate the ground.

Afraha Stadium has been home to many top flight football clubs of Kenya over the years.

They include Abeingo, Gema, Nakuru Wanderers, Scarlet, Kenya Farmers Association, Transcom Nakuru, Ulinzi Stars and Nakuru All Stars.

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