For some time now, Nation Sport has been highlighting the state of sports infrastructure in the country.
A number of stadiums in the North Rift region are in a sorry state. Despite government officials previously making numerous visits to the facilities and making promises, they have remained just that – promises.
North Rift is home to world beaters in athletes, but they lack proper training facilities in spite of the honour they have brought to the country at major championships.
The national government has started renovation work at Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Uasin Gishu County and Kamariny Stadium in Elgeyo Marakwet County in the North Rift after work stalled in 2017.
In the last few weeks, a visit to the stadiums by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Sports Chief Administrative Secretary Hassan Noor has rekindled hopes of sportsmen and women.
Lack of funds has been the main cause for the delay of the facilities.
Sportspersons in the North Rift are eagerly waiting for the stadiums to be completed in the next six months as promised.
In Western region, the Masinde Muliro Stadium in Bungoma County was in its early stages of construction when the Nation crew visited the facility in August last year.
The contractor, Lunao Enterprises, was having a difficult time working under the pouring rain.
Once completed, the stadium, formerly known as Kanduyi Stadium, has been estimated to cost Sh650 million. The stadium will have a VIP pavilion and office space for heads of departments.
During the launch of the project last year, Bungoma County Governor Wycliffe Wangamati said the stadium, which sits of 20 acres, will accommodate 5,000 people once the first phase is finished.
The VIP area will have a 2,000-seater capacity and public terraces 3,000 people. “This first phase is expected to be completed in two years.
The stadium will be expanded to a 20,000-seater capacity in the second phase,” Wangamati said.
Recent efforts to contact the governor on the progress of the stadium were futile. Nation Sport sent his text messages and made telephone calls which went unanswered.
Nearly a year since the project was launched; the contractor is now laying a slab for the second floor in the VIP pavilion. Next, the contractor will level the pitch and finish the first phase of the stadium next year ready for use.
According to the county government plan, the stadium will have offices, spectators’ sitting area, changing rooms, lockers, rooms for sports officials and coaches, changing rooms for ancillary staff, public washrooms, a first aid and medical centre, pitch maintenance and control room and a VIP lounge.
The stadium will also have a basketball court, a football, volleyball, rugby, hockey and netball pitches, a swimming pool, a hall for indoor games and a gymnasium.
“When we started the project last year, there was a lot of rain which slowed us down a little bit.
“But we are happy we are moving on well. We will be laying the slab for second floor this week, Benson Mbaisi, who won the contract to build the stadium last year, said.
“We will work on the track and pitch and the whole of phase one should be complete by mid next year if funds are available,” he added.
A mound of excavated soil lies on the stadium grounds. Mbaisi said they will quicken their pace to meet the deadline after starting the project from the scratch.
Bungoma County is known for producing some of the best athletes Kenya has ever had.
They include 1972 Munich Olympic Games 3,000 metres steeplechase silver medalist Ben Jipcho.