Delayed payments, cancelled tenders, the prolonged politicking season, plus the short rains between September and November last year, have been advanced as the main excuses behind the the delays in renovating the Nyayo Stadium.
This Sh450 million worth face-lift was commissioned by government on August 21 last year, and the 30,000 seater facility was supposed to ready in time to host the Africa Nations Championship football tournament which begins next weekend.
Kenya eventually lost the rights for hosting this biannual 16-team football competition a month later, and looking back, it now seems the Confederation of African Football made the right move in switching these games to Morocco.
“I expect this venue to be ready by March. I have just asked the contractor to give the keys to this facility by the end of that month,” Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia explained yesterday, when he toured the facility to assess the repairs.
“We have to stage an international match here by April.”
Kaberia also announced the Sports ministry had shelved the idea of transforming the stadium into an all seater owing to “challenges” in processing and giving out the tenders.
On Friday, Chandresh Babariya of Lexis International, who is the contractor tasked with renovating this stadium, was at pains to explain why his team fell short on delivering the work within the stipulated time as promised.
“It rained heavily late last year and that posed us challenges in moving the block cotton soil from here. But now we are through with that part I expect us to move quickly,” he said.
“Most of my staff were also not available to work all through October primarily because of the elections.”
On assessing the venue yesterday, it seems — on estimate — that only 40 percent of the works have been done, with the stands, pitch, terraces and parking lot seemingly resembling the old state even though dozens of casual workers were on site.
The large screens, main stand and dressings are also yet to be fixed.
The Nyayo National Stadium was, alongside Kasarani, Meru’s Kinoru and Eldoret Kipchoge Keino stadiums, closed down for renovations last year, at a time the government was battling to prove its seriousness to Caf in hosting Chan.
Nyayo’s unavailability has meanwhile forced Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards to shift their forthcoming international engagements to Kakamega and Kisumu.