What you need to know:
- Governor Mutai said the government had shown it has the ability to deliver projects within deadline, including those considered white elephants.
- “With the two months that this project has been delivered, is a clear manifestation that the government should not be having incomplete projects. All the projects can be completed in record time,” Governor Mutai said.
The upgraded Kericho Green Stadium has been handed over to the government and will host the Mashujaa Day celebrations.
Nation Sport understands that the facility, which will host various athletics and ball competitions, has been upgraded by the national government at a cost of Sh400 million and has a seating capacity of 10,000 people.
However, the construction work is not complete. The upgrade expected to continue after Friday’s Mashujaa Day celebrations that will be presided over by President William Ruto, and Angolan president Angola President Joao Lourenco who will be the chief guest.
Cabinet Secretary for Youth and Sports Ababu Namwamba said the government was committed to upgrading sports facilities in the country so as to nurture talent among youth.
“The stadium has a seating capacity of 10,000, and the VIP Pavilion holds 2,000 guests. It has changing rooms, offices, VIP lounge and other facilities that have been constructed from scratch,” Namwamba said Thursday during the handover ceremony by the contractor Modern Precast Kenya Limited in the company of Kericho Governor Erick Mutai, and Sports Principal Secretary Peter Tum.
In the 45-day upgrade, the number of gates at the facility was increased to three from two, while all the pavilions were brought down and seven new ones constructed.
“We have turned a dilapidated, forgotten and ignored ground into a facility that befits a stadium.We have done the upgrade in memory of the athletes. All league matches will be held at the stadium,” Namwamba said.
“This facility was called Kericho Green Stadium but in reality, there was no stadium in place. We now have one.It is now in the hands of Sports Kenya which will allow Kericho County government to use it.”
Namwamba said the athletics track which was removed during the upgrade will be replaced in the coming weeks.
“A tartan track will be laid inside the stadium, after the one that was installed in 2019 was plucked out to pave the way for the ongoing upgrade of the facility,” Namwamba said during the handover ceremony.
The county government laid the artificial track inside the facility in 2019 under the leadership of former Governor Paul Chepkwony but was in tatters when it was removed two months ago as athletes risked injury during competitions and training.
Kericho County Government had spent Sh110 million in upgrading the stadium, and Sh35 million in laying the artificial track, which was the most prominent feature at the stadium at the time.
“The stadium is now available for use by the immense pool of talent in athletics in the region in honour of legendary athletes from the region, led by Kiprugut Chumo, who won Kenya’s first medal at the Olympics (in 1964 in Japan) and opened the floodgates for Kenyan medalists at the Olympics,” Namwamba said.
“Kiprugut passed away last year at the age of 84, leaving behind a formidable heritage for Kenya as the home of sports men and women.”
Namwamba said the national government was working with the 47 counties to upgrade stadiums so as to promote talent among youth so as to make sports an industry.
“Within one year, with the handover of Kericho Green Stadium, we are celebrating our second regional stadium after Moi Stadium - Embu which was delivered in five weeks. There has been talk of white elephant stadiums, but that was under a different administration. Dr (William) Ruto’s administration will not have white elephant projects,” Namwamba stated.
The government is rolling out the renovation programme under a sports infrastructure master plan that also involves the upgrade of Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, and Nyayo National Stadium. It also involves the proposed construction of Talanta Stadium to international standards.
Namwamba said each of the 47 counties will benefit from the upgrade of sports facilities, while community grounds will be transformed into local facilities for scouting and improving talent.
In collaboration with Kakamega County Government, the national government is upgrading Bukhungu Stadium to international standards.
“We are in discussion with Kisumu County Government over the upgrade of Jommo Kenyatta grounds, and Moi Stadium. The same applies to Marsabit Stadium (Marsabit County), Olkalau Stadium in Nyandarua, and Bomet IAAF Stadium in Bomet County,” he said.
“The government will elevate sports into an industry and that is why the counties are competing to host 2027 Afcon matches when 11 months ago, we did not have football to talk about. The government worked with speed to have the Fifa suspension on Kenya lifted and football is truly back in full swing,” Namwamba said.
Renovation work outside the playground is not complete. The contractor did not finish work on the perimeter wall, parking area, public toilets and other facilities due to tight constraints.
“Work is till going on at the stadium. We have brought forward the handover ceremony because of Mashujaa Day celebrations. It is still a construction site with the upgrade proceeding after the celebrations,” Namwamba said.
Kapkatet Stadium is in the list of priority regional facilities that will be upgraded on merit as it is an historic ground with good location and is a hotbed of athletics talent, Namwamba said.
Governor Mutai said the government had shown it has the ability to deliver projects within deadline, including those considered white elephants.
“With the two months that this project has been delivered, is a clear manifestation that the government should not be having incomplete projects. All the projects can be completed in record time,” Governor Mutai said.