The Nakuru County government has embarked on a major renovation of Afraha Stadium at a cost of Sh1 billion.
At the same time, the county also plans to establish a modern training camp for athletics and other sports in Keringet, Kuresoi South Constituency.
The Afraha Stadium facelift will be done in phases.
According to acting County Executive Committee Member for Youth, Gender, Culture, Sports and Social Services, Dr Peter Ketyenya, the stadium will be fitted with modern facilities that will elevate it to international standards.
“The stadium will be fitted with a modern swimming pool, a gymnasium, a running turf and an outdoor gaming facility. We want it to join the league of big stadiums like Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi,” he said.
He added that the initiative is being spearheaded by the Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP) and the World Bank.
“After we complete the project, the arena will allow the youth to nurture their talents in a conducive environment,” he noted.
Already, the county government has embarked on the renovation process.
Last week, through an advertisement in the Daily Nation, the county government invited contractors to apply for the partial construction of the proposed western pavilion at the stadium.
The stadium has been in a dilapidated condition for a long time.
The stadium is the home base for Ulinzi Stars which plays in the SportPesa Premier League and also serves as the home ground for the Nakuru All-stars, which plays in the National Super League.
The stadium can accommodate at least 30,000 fans.
According to a stadium management official who sought anonymity, they have been grappling with vandalism for a long time.
He blamed the vandalism on a clique of rowdy fans and street children living nearby.
The county government has also set aside Sh20 million to establish a modern training camp in Keringet.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui revealed that his government has already bought about 30 acres of land for the sports complex.
“Keringet area of Kuresoi South Sub-County has in the past demonstrated a high potential of producing world-class athletics champions and putting up a training facility in the area would further open up the region for more talent. Two out of the five gold medals won in the previous IAAF World Championships in London were scooped by athletes from Kuresoi,” said Mr Kinyanjui.
According to Governor Kinyanjui, the training camp will encourage young athletes in the region while at the same time tapping revenue through sports tourism.
“The sports complex will be fully equipped to help athletes in training. It will also accommodate other sports in the county as part of efforts to improve sports in the talent-rich region. My administration has also engaged stakeholders in sports to improve sports tourism,” added Mr Kinyanjui.
Among athletes from the region who have left a mark in world championships in include Faith Kipyegon and Geoffrey Kirui.
Beatrice Chebet who also hails from Keringet recently won a gold medal during the IAAF World Under 20 championships in Tampere, Finland. She became the first Kenyan woman to win the 5,000m race in the event’s history.