NAIROBI, Kenya, September 20- Funds for the second phase of the refurbishment of Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani will be availed soon, the Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Liu Guangyuan, pledged.
The envoy was speaking after his Government handed back the facility to their Kenyan counterparts after completion of initial stage of the renovation work that began in August 2010 and cost the Chinese State close to a billion Kenyan shillings.
However, the formal handover to the Sports Stadia Management Board (SSMB) could not be completed after immediate former Sports Minister; Dr. Paul Otuoma who was later Thursday transferred to the Local Government docket, failed to make it to the ceremony due to a Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi.
“After the handover, the second phase is coming; the money is on the way since we want to have a wonderful facility here. This sports centre has become the symbol of friendship and co-operation between the two countries.
“The Chinese Government not only donated the building but also attaches great importance to its maintenance. What we are handing over today was completed with high standards,” Guangyuan stated.
In accepting the restored facility, assistant minister, Kabando wa Kabando who was holding brief for the minister called on State officers charged with maintaining the facility to prevent the degeneration that saw the biggest sporting facility in the country to ruin before renovation work started.
“We should put a lot of effort to use this stadium very well. SSMB should accelerate their effort to improve other stadiums across the country with clever and smarter engagements.
“The facility should attract the region and continental events through smart marketing. SSMB should sell this as an East Africa stadium by creating incentives for usage,” the assistant minister declared.
Under the first phase carried out by Chinese firm Shengli Engineering Construction Corporation, the main 60,000-seater stadium, volleyball gymnasium, aquatic centre that hosted the just concluded Africa Swimming Championships, hostel facilities and VIP hospitality suites were renovated.
According to Kabando, the second stage of the redevelopment of the largest sporting cathedral in Kenya will include water facilities with an International Sports Academy, motorsport and golf course among projects under phase three.
“If you dip your fingers in public coffers in China, you are hanged and their governance is great. SSMB should replicate this by being diligent to the course and maintenance of this stadium.”
Speakers at the ceremony urged Kenyans to join the effort of preserving the facility by abstaining from acts of vandalism whenever they patronise the complex for activity.
“Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards will play here on Saturday and we urge them to restrain from acts of hooliganism and vandalism since we cannot afford to destroy this complex,” the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, James Waweru stressed.
The handover will be completed at a date to be announced soon when incoming Sports Minister, Ababu Namwamba signs the document detailing the report of the restoration work on behalf of the Government.
Shengli Engineering moved to site in August 2010 and completed the first phase in April but the surrendering back of the complex was delayed after SSMB and technical officials in the Government raised concerns with some of the works.
Presentation of the facility had been shifted from December last year after contractors requested for more time with the stadium hosting its first international football match since the closure in May when Harambee Stars drew 0-0 with visiting Malawi in their 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Construction of the complex started in 1982 in what was the biggest project by the Chinese in Africa after the construction of the Zambia-Tanzania railway before it was completed in time for Kenya to host the 1987 All Africa Games.