Namwamba addresses stadium concerns for Harambee Stars, Starlets as Nyayo, Kasarani undergo renovation

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023 21:13 | By
Sports CS Ababu Namwamba. PHOTO/Ababu Namwamba/Facebook
Sports CS Ababu Namwamba. PHOTO/Ababu Namwamba/Facebook

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Ababu Namwamba has assured that the national teams will have venues to host their international assignments as Kasarani and Nyayo Stadiums undergo renovation.

While the facilities undergo renovation, fears of where Harambee Stars and Starlets would host their matches arose. Namwamba has addressed those fears by affirming that a venue for those matches will be available.

Namwamba's promise

Starlets will host Cameroon for a 2024 Women's Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifier on September 26 for a return leg, while the men's team will be in action in November for a World Cup qualifier.

"There will be a venue for all our international obligations. We know Harambee Starlets need a venue, and Harambee Stars will need a venue for home games after playing Gabon and Seychelles away.

"There will be a place," Namwamba said.

Kasarani and Nyayo are the only stadiums that can host international matches, and given that their renovations might take a long time, there were suggestions that Kenya play their matches outside the country. But Namwamba differs.

"Not under our watch. Nothing of that kind will happen. Our games will be played here," the CS affirmed.

A grounds worker trims grass at the Nyayo Stadium before a previous international match. PHOTO/David Ndolo
A grounds worker trims grass at the Nyayo Stadium before a previous international match. PHOTO/David Ndolo

Apart from Nyayo and Kasarani, Kipchoge Keino in Eldoret has also been earmarked for renovation. Namwamba was excited by the work already going on at the Eldoret sporting facility.

"We are here to transform this stadium to match the name Kipchoge Keino. Only a few months ago, we came here, and we left quite annoyed. This pitch looked like a cattle feeding ground.

"It even looked highly doubtful whether this place would be ready for the devolution conference, but I am glad that we put our minds to it and we did it.

"Today we can walk on a beautiful, green pitch. We managed to push the pavilion and terrace spaces to host more guests in this city," he said.

Master plan

The former Budalangi Member of Parliament revealed the existence of a master plan that will guide them when renovating the stadiums.

"We have been unveiling our sports and arts infrastructure masterplan, the best one put together.

"It has set targets for where we want to see Kenya in terms of sports and facilities and tells us what we want at each level. We started this journey by unveiling four international-level projects," he concluded.

All these renovations are Kenya's steps towards readying itself for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2027 after a joint bid with Uganda and Tanzania was tabled at CAF.

Should the bid succeed, it will be the first time the AFCON finals are hosted in East Africa.

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