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A view of the City Stadium during a past match, when the facility was still in good condition. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Football

Sports Ministry to take over City Stadium from County Govt.

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – The Ministry of Sports has initiated talks with the Nairobi County Government to take over the rehabilitation and management of the City Stadium that is the  traditional home ground of record Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia.

Sports Principal Secretary, Joe Okudo has revealed to Capital Sports that talks have commenced between the national government and the Nairobi County government, under which the stadium falls, to have it rehabilitated to proper standards.

“We have discussed its take over with the County because it is a County facility. Now we are in good standing with the County government and it is high time we reclaimed the stadium. It was never built to be a market but a stadium, particularly for football,” Okudo said.

“We will come up with a work plan and a budget to ensure that we have done City Stadium within this year,” the Sports PS added.

While it continues to host lower tier matches and club friendly games, City Stadium, christened Tok Komwanda by Gor faithful, has been closed for nearly five years now to Premier League games.

The Stadium was a full-to-capacity spectacle whenever it hosted Gor Mahia matches due to its proximity to the city centre and football mad estates, and its closure has dealt K’Ogalo a huge amount of revenue loss through gate collections.

Former Tusker FC defender David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng tries to cut out Gor Mahia’s Edwin Lavatsa during a Kenyan Premier League match at the City Stadium in 2011. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The facility had also been a refuge for many other teams with medium and low number of fans especially due to its easy accessibility.

There has been a lot of back and forth over its rehabilitation since the days of former Nairobi Governor, Evans Kidero who came into office in 2013 with the promise of raising its standards, but nothing has been done up to date, seven years on.

Its artificial playing turf has been thoroughly dilapidated while the stands and changing rooms remain unattended and unimproved since they were put up.

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Okudo says they hope to finish the stadium in time before the year ends to ease off the pressure off Kasarani and Nyayo Stadia and ensure they remain in inch-perfect shape for international events while City is left to stage most of the local league matches.

The Ministry of Public Works is also set to visit the facility before drawing out a plan and making necessary budgets to be forwarded to the Sports Fund.

“We have been told about City Stadium just today. We will send a team there to take a brief on the requirements, and from there we will start plans to ensure we make it to the standards like we see Nyayo National Stadium,” SK Muli, the Chief Architect in the Ministry of Public Works told Capital Sports.

Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo inspects the quality of grass at the Nyayo National Stadium during an impromptu inspection tour on May 25, 2020. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Meanwhile, PS Okudo has promised the Ministry is working round the clock to ensure more facilities are refurbished and availed by the end of the year especially after last week’s tour of Kisumu and Eldoret where they promised to refurbish the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground to international status.

“It is a commitment we have made and we will work hard to complete all the stadia we have promised. We have about 15 stadia earmarked to be developed between now and December. There is no sports now but we want that by the time we are back, we can provide the infrastructure needed and we can spread sports all over the country and not just in Nairobi,” stated the PS.

The availability of City Stadium coupled with the completion of the Nyayo National Stadium will be a massive relief for Nairobi-based clubs who have been forced to take their matches to Machakos, Nakuru and Narok due to the unavailability of standard stadia in the city.

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  1. Pingback: Finally, light at the end of the City Stadium tunnel? - Capital Sports

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