Bukhungu Stadium’s newly renovated facilities will be put to the test starting Sunday when the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup begins with the opening match at the facility.
The stadium, first opened to the public in the 1950s, has undergone phase one of a Sh1 billion facelift that will eventually transform it into a world class facility.
The stadium - located where tradition Luhya wrestling matches and bullfights used to be staged - in addition to hosting the opening match on Sunday between Kenya and Rwanda will stage Group B fixtures.
Site engineer, Charles Oyier of Wilkore Building and Construction Ltd said phase one which focused on dressing rooms, offices and VIP lounge was complete while 80 per cent of the mechanical work done been done.
“Once the walling and benching of the terraces will have been done, Bukhungu will be able to accommodate about 30,000 people at the end of the refurbishment,” he said.
He said while the other works were on schedule, the laying of a tartan track will take more time.
The centre stand with a capacity of 3,000 has been complete.
The perimeter fence and the inner security barrier fence have also been complete.
Kakamega County Governor, Wycliffe Oparanya said the rehabilitation is part of his efforts to woo business from various parts. According to Oparanya the modern stadium is expected to change the living standards for bother players and business people of Kakamega and its environs.
“I want to leave a legacy by fulfilling my pledges. One of them is the rehabilitation of Bukhungu Stadium,” he said.
Oparanya said refurbishing Bukhungu Stadium to world class standards will be one of his major achievement.
“The region is blessed with so many talented young stars who need better playing fields to cushion them against injuries.”
“When completed, Bukhungu will attract both local and foreign tourists and investors who will create employment for our youths,” he said.
The governor is among prominent personalities and stake holders who have praised Wilkore Building and Construction Limited for maintaining high standards by ensuring quality workmanship on the project despite challenges including inclement weather.
Oyier said the construction is being done by materials that will see the facility meet best world practices and remain in good shape for many years without undergoing renovation.
Kakamega County Sports and Labour Minister, Robert Sumbi challenged sportsmen from the region to reciprocate by working hard and restoring the region’s lost football glory.
He also challenged investors especially from hospitality industry to take advantage of the facility by putting up high class hotels.
Former AFC Leopards official, Sammy Limisi the newly elected Isukha East Ward MCA called upon big teams including AFC Leopards to consider using Bukhungu as their alternative venue for their league home matches since they enjoyed massive following in the region.
Isukha South MSCA, Farouk Machanje termed the project a historic land mark that will give direct employment to the youth.