Despite millions of shillings being pumped into Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County over the last three years, the facility remains abandoned and yet another example of a failed project and unfulfilled promise from the national government.
A tour of the stadium reveals a picture of derelict and neglect. Works on a four-storey block that was supposed to comprise a VIP lounge, offices, dressing rooms and other facilities only went on as far as the foundation block. Toilet facilities and the parking lot are yet to be constructed.
The stadium lies in a town that is home to a majority of the country’s athletes, even being christened the city of champions; with sports men and women investing heavily in the town.
The 10,000-seater capacity stadium lies in ruins surrounded by iron-sheet fencing with excavations of the VIP pavilion and terraces the only indications that at one point in time contractors were on site.
Initially, the stadium hosted various events including the national trials for the 2016 Olympic Games which attracted a mammoth crowd that filled the stadium to the brim.
The trials were held in the facility after the first phase of upgrades and the national government saw need to improve the stadium situated along the Eldoret-Iten highway.
In January 2017, Sports Kenya and the County Government of Uasin Gishu signed an agreement to renovate the stadium with works set to consist of VIP terraces, changing rooms, a conference hall, indoor games hall and terraces for between 15,000 to 25,000 spectators.
The initial amount for phase two was Sh230 million shillings while the county government was to pump in 100 million shillings for parking and lighting.
All that amounted to very little in the grand scheme of things as one contractor - WIETEC Company - began their portion of the works after getting paid eight per cent of an initial 20 per cent deposit.
Nation Sport’s efforts to reach the contractor, who has since stopped works at the stadium, proved futile and our visits to the stadium bore no fruits as we found the gates locked.
In December 2018, Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia told Nation Sport that they had reached an agreement with two contractors (WIETEC and Shiv) vis-à-vis the stadium works.
The PS indicated that by April 2019 the track would be ready for use and Athletics Kenya could use it to host their weekend meetings.
This never happened with AK forced to use Mumias Sports Complex and Narok Stadium as alternatives ahead of preparations for the African Games.
In January this year, former Cabinet Secretary for Sports and Culture Rashid Echesa toured the facility and held talks with the contractors urging them to commence construction as the ministry finalised their payment but no machine has roared to life since.
Outside the stadium, maize farmers busy themselves with drying their produce ready for sale to the nearby private miller and other millers within town. The space they occupy was intended for the parking lot that Uasin Gishu County is meant to construct. That project however can’t go on until the terraces are complete.
WIETEC company had been initially been awarded the tender to construct the VIP pavilion, terraces, changing rooms and parking lot . Things, however, changed when the stadium was named as one of the venues for the 2018 Africa Nations Championships (Chan) tournament.
The tender was then subdivided among other contractors to be done in phases. Phase one was apparently completed in December last year, but the second is yet to take off.
Four kilometres from Kipchoge Keino stadium is yet another neglected facility - 64 Stadium - which is popular for hosting political meetings.
The perimeter wall has collapsed but the county government said that this financial year it has allocated Sh250 million for its refurbishment.
Athletes have been left to use the congested Moi University-Annex track and the University of Eldoret track for their speed work sessions.