NAIROBI, Kenya, April 28 –Sports Minister Professor Helen Sambili has dismissed allegations that the selling of naming rights of Nyayo National Stadium led to the departure of Sam Mwai as CEO of the Sports Stadia Management Board.
The stadium is now known as Coca Cola stadium but Sambili said on Tuesday that Mwai has come to the end of his tenure and that the board will advertise the vacant position in due course.
“This has nothing to with the managing director’s departure. Mr. Mwai (Sam) has been the CEO for six years and he has done a good job,” said Sambili.
Sambili however expressed disappointment with the way Coca Cola secured naming rights to the stadium stating that it will harm the legacy of the country.
“There was no proper consultation and we are sorting those issues now bearing in mind that it was not properly done,” said Sambili.
“We have to protect the legacy of this country and I think it was unfortunate that this (naming rights) was done without proper consultation in the ministry and I have expressed my concern,” she added.
“I think it is not fair that the stadium should be called Coca Cola Stadium, It should be Coca Cola Nyayo National Stadium so that we honour those who have contributed to the development of this country,” said the minister.
Sambili also said that the search for Mwai’s replacement will be carried out in a transparent manner.
“I’ve asked the board to advertise this position so that it is filled competitively and I want to assure Kenyans that the government is serious about developing stadia facilities in this country,” she added.
Sambili was speaking as she handed out cash rewards to several sporting disciplines that excelled in the past year.
“Since the introduction of these cash awards, we have seen a marked improvement in sports performance. I believe that it is not because of the awards alone but because of the hard work that the various sports men and women have put in,” she added.
The Ministry handed out a total sum of Sh6.5 million to the teams which include the National Deaf Athletics team that took part in the first World Deaf Athletics Championships and the national swimming team that finished third in the Africa Senior Swimming Championships.
The national rugby sevens team, Kenya Motor Sports Limited and participating teams in the Traditional Boat Racing tournament were also feted.