NAIROBI, Kenya, September 18 – The Sports Stadia Management Board (SSMB) will formally receive the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani Complex from Chinese contractors on Thursday after completion of renovation works.
The facility was closed in August 2010 and the refurbishment work completed in April by Chinese firm China Shengli Engineering Construction (Group) Corporation.
According to a press statement from the Chinese Embassy, the handover ceremony scheduled for Thursday morning will be graced by Sports Minister, Paul Otuoma and the Chinese ambassador Liu Guangyuan.
Since completion of the renovation works in April, the cathedral of Kenyan sports has hosted the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Harambee Stars and Malawi as well as this year’s Africa Swimming Championships that ended on Sunday among other high profile events.
The country’s teams to the Olympics and Paralympics games in London were also housed there during their training camp for both events.
The Complex was funded by the Chinese government and the construction started in December 1982 and was fully completed five years later in what was the Asian giant’s largest project in East Africa at the time after the construction of the Zambia-Tanzania railway.
Construction finished just in time for the 9th All Africa Games Kenya hosted and the facility has remained the largest sporting infrastructure in the country.
Following years of neglect, the once majestic complex turned into an eyesore precipitating the scathing attack directed towards it by First Lady Lucy Kibaki that the pools were housing frogs in 2003.
It was placed under the parastatal management upon formation on SSMB and the Chinese were once again called to fund the resurrection of the imposing complex that sits on 1000 acres.
Kasarani boasts of a 60,000-seater stadium, a 5,000-seat gymnasium, a 2,000-seat natatorium, a 200-bed athlete dormitory and other facilities including deluxe honeymoon and presidential suites for private hire.