As the refurbishment of the government-owned Mombasa County Stadium drags on, thereby denying the youth a venue to hone their skills, a Member of Parliament has stepped in with a quick fix.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir is building a brand new football stadium at Ronald Ngala Primary School at a cost of Sh16 million from the National Fund Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) kitty.
Nassir said that once complete next month, the venue will host a football match between Nation Media Group Football Club and Sparki Youth during the unveiling ceremony.
There is a beehive of activity with work in full gear at the once desolate playing field at the school located about 300 metres from the Mombasa County Stadium.
The facility, to be known as Ronald Ngala Stadium, is home to National Division One side Sparki Youth Football Club, and is expected to start hosting international matches.
A spot check by Nation Sport found some workers putting the final touches on the main stand. Their colleagues were working on the playing surface and were also planting fresh grass as they race against time to beat the deadline set by the MP.
The stadium project has inspired a lot of hope in Mombasa’s football fraternity which has been starved of top-flight football action since 2013 when the then Mombasa Municipal Stadium hosted the semi-finals of Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.
“There has been a serious problem since the Mombasa County Stadium was closed for renovation. There has been conflict between clubs and institutions over use of institutional grounds. It is because of this that I decided to upgrade Ronald Ngala School grounds which will be used by all clubs in Mombasa,” Nassir said.
“Clubs participating in the top-flight Kenyan Premier League, including Bandari Football Club, could choose to host their matches here,” said the lawmaker, a son of the late long-serving area MP Shariff Nassir.
Nassir said that he would ensure there is a memorandum of understanding between the Ronald Ngala Primary School, on whose compound the stadium is built, and clubs as well as schools which elect to use the field to avoid conflicts in the future.
“Our boys and girls love playing football, which is the number one sport in the Coast region but they have nowhere to showcase their talent. It is because of this that I want to complete the upgrading of the Ronald Ngala School grounds for use by schools and the public through a well-crafted MoU which should serve effectively whether I am here or not,” Nassir said.
Apart from the centre stand which is nearing completion, the stadium will also have terraces all around with a modern dressing room and washrooms.
Former Harambee Stars head coach Mohammed Kheri, who is a member of the project management committee, is in charge of the works. Nassir said that Kheri is in a better position to know exactly what is required in the stadium after serving as the national team coach.
“I’m in charge of work at the stadium which I project will be complete by August when we intend to open the facility to the public,” Kheri said.
He said that the first phase of the ultra-modern stadium will have a sitting capacity of 3,000 people. Kheri said that stadium will be expanded in the second phase to accommodate more people.
Kheri said that the fast-growing Kikuyu grass is doing well and work is under way on the showers, two dressing rooms and a conference room for meetings. The conference rooms will also be used for coaching clinics.
Sparki Youth have been using the Ronald Ngala grounds for their Football Kenya Federation Division One League home matches for close to a decade.
Kheri said when the stadium is ready it will be open to all top league clubs in the region among them Coast Stima, Mordern Coast Rangers, provincial and district league clubs.