NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – The Kenyan Premier League Stadia Safety and Security Committee (SSSC) has provisionally approved three new stadia to host matches for the 2017 season.
The Narok County Stadium which had been closed for renovations for close to two years as well as the Kericho Green Stadium, home to Zoo Kericho FC have been given clearance to host low and medium risk matches.
However, newly promoted side Nzoia United will only be allowed to host low risk matches at their Sudi Stadium home ground in Bungoma as the facility lacks standard well constructed changing rooms.
But still, the Nzoia fraternity is excited that the Premier League will finally return home and head coach Bernard Mwalala says the vital home advantage will be crucial in their campaign.
“We are very happy as a team because that is one of the things we were really fighting for. The fans were immense for us last season when we got promoted and one of the things we promised them was that we would bring the league home,” Mwalala said.
“I think the playing turf is one of the best in the country and we will really enjoy playing here. In the previous years when Nzoia was in the league, they still used this as the home ground,” he added.
At the Kericho Green Stadium, constructors are currently erecting the inner and outer perimeter as well as temporary changing rooms. However, the KPL committee was not 100 percent impressed with the playing surface which they recommended for more work to be done.
The Bomet County Stadium which is still under construction and is expected to be up and ready in May was also inspected by the KPL committee with a new inspection set to be conducted after its opening.
With Nyayo Stadium already closed for renovations and the impending shut down of the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani for preparations towards the IAAF World U18 Championships in July, most Nairobi teams who have been using the two facilities as their home grounds will be greatly affected.
“When work on laying of the tartan starts at Kasarani, the stadium will be closed completely and no one will be allowed near it. Currently, only work on the outside has started so matches can still go on. Nyayo is closed till work of laying the new turf is finished,” Sports Kenya Public Relations Officer Rakki Asman told Capital Sport.
Tusker FC has already announced plans to play their home matches at the Kinoru Stadium in Meru which had been under construction for the whole of last season.
Ruaraka Complex which had been used for a number of low risk matches for the last two seasons remains closed for maintenance works.
Teams will now be forced to look at the options in Machakos, Thika and Nakuru. The other stadium in the city, Hope Centre hasn’t gotten the KPL vote of approval. The earliest Nyayo is expected to be re-opened is April.