Raila Odinga Stadium, Kirigiti cleared to host high-risk FKF PL matches

Friday, August 18th, 2023 16:11 | By
Raila Odinga controls the ball at Raila Odinga Stadium. PHOTO/Homabay County.

Newly opened Raila Odinga Stadium in Homabay County and Kirigitiu Stadium in Kiambu have been given the green light by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to host high and middle-risk Premier League matches.

Raila Odinga Stadium, which was officially opened in June 2023 by Raila Odinga himself, is set to become the alternative home ground for Shabana FC.

Raila Odinga Stadium opening

This decision comes after the closure of their previous venue, Gusii Stadium, for renovation purposes. The stadium's inauguration was marked by a friendly match between Gor Mahia and a Luo combined team, with Gor Mahia emerging victorious with a 1-0 win to claim the Jaramogi Cup.

Action at Raila Odinga Stadium. PHOTO/Homabay County
Action at Raila Odinga Stadium. PHOTO/Homabay County

The clearance for Raila Odinga Stadium and Kirigitiu Stadium follows an extensive assessment by the FKF Venue Inspection Committee. The committee evaluated various factors, including pitch quality, spectator facilities, security arrangements, and compliance with FKF, CAF, and FIFA regulations.

Among the venues cleared to host high-risk and middle-risk matches are Jomo Kenyatta Stadium (Kisumu), Ulinzi Sports Complex (Nairobi), Police Sacco Stadium (Nairobi), Bukhungu Stadium (Kakamega), and Mbaraki Stadium (Mombasa). These stadiums will join the ranks of Moi Kasarani Main Stadium and Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

Stadiums designated for low-risk matches include Kasarani Annex, Utalii Grounds, Ruaraka Grounds, Muhoroni Stadium, and St Sebastian Park in Murang'a.

Stadia not cleared

However, certain stadiums are still pending clearance, including Gusii Stadium in Kisii, Ole Ntimama Stadium in Narok, Machakos County Stadium in Machakos, and Thika Stadium in Thika.

The FKF Leagues and Competitions Committee, under the leadership of its chairman, will be responsible for determining the risk levels of fixtures during pre-event meetings.

The inspection committee noted that pitch quality varied among the venues, and while some were well-maintained, others displayed signs of wear and tear that require immediate attention to ensure player safety and match quality.

Spectator facilities were also under scrutiny, with some venues boasting sufficient seating arrangements to accommodate a sizable audience. However, improvements are recommended to provide proper shelter, restroom facilities, and concession stands for an enhanced fan experience.

A section of Bukhungu Stadium after completion of phase one of construction work in 2017. Phase two has started this week. PHOTO/Fred Likuyani
A section of Bukhungu Stadium after completion of phase one of construction work in 2017. Phase two has started this week. PHOTO/Fred Likuyani

In terms of infrastructure, a few venues lacked proper dressing rooms, medical facilities, and media areas – essential components for hosting top-tier matches.

Security measures were identified as a concern, as some venues lacked proper crowd control measures and emergency evacuation plans. The perimeter around certain pitches also raised security considerations.

Despite these challenges, most of the venues met the minimum requirements set by the FKF for hosting matches, indicating a positive step forward for the upcoming football season.

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