Lexis Contractors are racing against time to finish renovating Nyayo National Stadium and to have the 30,000-seater facility ready for hand over by May 31.
A spot check by Nation Sport Tuesday shows that work is going on at the stadium in strict adherence to social distancing rules in view of coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, a team from Sports Kenya, Athletics Kenya and World Under-20 Championships officials also toured the venue.
The stadium was closed down in early 2017 for renovation as Kenya prepared to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan). The country fell behind schedule and the tournament was held in Morocco.
The arena was briefly opened to host Kenyan Premier League match between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards in August 2017 before being closed again for renovation.
The government has given false promises of its opening since 2018. The arena was partially reopened for the Beyond Zero Half Marathon on March 8, and for former President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi’s state funeral on February 11.
Nyayo National Stadium is being earmarked to host the Nairobi Athletics Meeting that is of the eight legs of the inaugural World Athletics Continental Tour on September 26. The event was initially set for May 2 but it was postponed due to the novel coronavirus.
Sports Kenya Director General Pius Metto insisted that work at the Nyayo National Stadium will be complete in a fortnight’s time with the contractors handing over the key officially on May 31.
The government had approved Sh4.2bn for the renovation of Nyayo National Stadium, Kipchoge Keino Stadium, Kinoru Stadium, and the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
But will renovation work at Nyayo be complete this time round for a May 31 hand over ceremony?
That is left to be seen even as Metto said that 90 per cent of the work is complete and only final touches are remaining.
When Nation Sport visited the stadium, terraces were getting a new look, with new seats painted in the colours of the Kenyan flag already fixed on the upper and lower decks. The middle deck is halfway fitted with seats.
Relocation of the changing rooms from below the VIP dais to the opposite side of the stadium has been done and plumbing and electrification work is ongoing inside the rooms.
The old changing rooms have been renovated but toilets meant to be used by fans are still getting a much-needed facelift. Work on the VIP sections, including the presidential lounge, is complete.
Guests will now be able to follow action on the field from vantage points on either side of the sky boxes.
Work on the all-cabro parking around the stadium is nearing completion, but a section of the drainage system is still incomplete. A borehole has already been sunk at the stadium and purifiers put in place to supply the arena with clean water.
Renovation of the swimming pool is ongoing but Metto, who was accompanied on the tour by Sports Kenya Chairman Fred Muteti, World Athletics regional director for technical and competition, Ibrahim Hussein and World Under-20 Championships CEO Mike Rabar, said the arena will be ready in a month.
Metto was happy that the new warm-up pool at Nyayo is complete, with the focus now shifting on roofing. The roof at the Indoor Gymnasium needs total overhaul.
Metto disclosed that laying of a new track and canopy covering the whole arena was not part of the original budget. However, Metto said there were plans to lay a new and modern track at the venue for future international assignments.
Metto said officials from Public Works Ministry have toured the venue to access the roofing at the swimming pool and the Indoor Arena and should give their recommendation within a week.