The Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, has been closed down for a year for major renovations estimated to cost about Sh1 billion.
The contract for the repair work has been given to a Chinese firm, Shengli Engineering Construction Company Limited, who have already set the ball rolling on site.
The company’s staff started work on the 1987-built stadium and hope to enhance its image by the end of the year.
Benjamin Sogomo, the chief executive officer of the Sports Stadia Management Board (SSMB), confirmed that several tournaments scheduled to be staged at the stadium will now have to be held elsewhere.
“Yes I can confirm that the work has started and it will be going on for some time. Some events will be affected by the renovations. Others will not. Each booking shall be treated on its own merit,” said Sogomo.
Among the top international competitions affected are the 17th Senior Africa Athletics Championship and the Africa women’s volleyball club championship.
Athletics Kenya has been forced to switch the continent’s premier track and field event to the Nyayo National Stadium from July 28 to August 1 while the Kenya Volleyball Federation have cancelled a planned tournament in April and asked the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) to take it elsewhere.
Shengli Engineering Construction Company Limited is expected to complete its work in December.
“The cost of renovations is slightly over Sh900 million. This (cost) will be met by the Government of the Peoples’ Republic of China through a grant,” said Sogomo in a statement.
“The duration of the contract is 12 months with effect from December 2009.” The renovation will be centred around the main stadium, which will benefit greatly with the installation of 60,000 seats that will replace the wooden benches and slabs over the first and third stands.
World football governing body, Fifa, downgraded the facility to a 35,000 capacity, about 60 per cent of its original capacity, citing insecurity.
The stadium’s electronic scoreboard, which stopped working months after it was installed, will also be replaced.
Other facilities that will be worked on include the Aquatic Stadium, which will have a complete overhaul, including the installation of standard heating and cleaning system for the swimming pool. It will also be an all-seat stadium. The indoor arena will also get a new look.
“The indoor arena will have a complete overhaul and new seats will be installed,” said Sogomo.
The Stadion Hotel, a three-star facility that hosts teams playing in or preparing for major competitions, will also be upgraded.
However, the SSMB has not made up its mind about selling the naming rights for the stadium at present.
“The Board will from time to time make decisions on naming rights of facilities within Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani,” Sogomo noted.
“The Board has no problem with the concept of naming rights. If in future we choose to advertise for naming rights we will consult adequately.”