As far as sports infrastructure in Kisumu County is concerned, the most notable development has been the relocation of Kachok Dumpsite that has been a health hazard and an eyesore to football fans accessing Moi Stadium for matches.
The space that has been teeming with street children scavenging on mountains of garbage now has a beautiful public park. The dumpsite has been decommissioned and the county government has commissioned a new waste management plant in Chiga.
The Kisumu County government plans to build a 20,000-seater ultra-modern stadium at a cost of Sh1.3 billion on seven acres of land on which Moi Stadium currently sits.
Being the only standard sports facility in the county, Moi Stadium’s artificial turf is overused and has limited seating capacity. It also lacks an athletics track, and seats for fans.
In 2012, Moi Stadium became the second football stadium after City Stadium to have an artificial turf, thanks to a grant from Fifa. But it is ageing.
County Director of Communication Aloice Ager told Nation Sport that Kisumu plans to build an ultra-modern stadium sports stadium befitting of its status as a city, with promotion of the arts in mind.
“As the third biggest city in Kenya, Kisumu is not benchmarking with any county with regard to sports infrastructure. The plan of the stadium is ready, and we are keen on promoting both sports and the arts to give our youth opportunities to fully utilise their potential in life,” Ager said.
According to Kisumu County Executive for Tourism and Sports Achie Alai, the stadium project will also feature a 500-seater amphitheatre for arts performances and a sports museum to celebrate local sports heroes.
Sh100 million has been budgeted for in the current financial year for the first phase of the project which was meant to start this month.
“The total project is valued at about Sh1.3 billion. We have budgeted as the department for Sh100 million for this financial year. Each year we will allocate a budget for the project, but we are aggressively looking for partners as we move along — both corporates locally and internationally as well as public- private partnerships. We have actual designs and seed money from the county. We have shown our commitment and it's easier to approach partners,” she told Nation Sport.
Work on the stadium which was scheduled to start this month was put on hold since the dumpsite had not been decommissioned, and the county assembly is yet to approve the budgetary allocation but Alai reckons work on the project will start any time from now.
“The new stadium will have multiple terraces, VIP areas, lifts, changing rooms, an ablution block, parking area, an amphitheatre for 500 people, shops, restaurant, cinema, tennis and squash courts, badminton and basketball courts, and a sports museum to celebrate our heroes from across the country. We strongly feel that our heroes deserve recognition,” Alai said.
Plans to build an amphitheatre and a cinema are long overdue, Kisumu being home to award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o.
The 18-time Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia and Sony Sugar have used Moi Stadium for their home matches, and so are newly-promoted Kisumu AllStars and top tier league side Western Stima, so it is shocking that Kisumu County only came up with a sports policy in May.
“Gender and people living with disability were the considerations and about 70 people drawn from all sporting disciplines were in that meeting. A technical committee submitted a draft which is being reviewed then we welcome public participation,” Alai said.
There are also plans to upgrade sports facilities in the other six sub-counties in Kisumu, starting with Muhoroni and Nyakach.
That will be good news to Football Kenya Federation Division One league team Muhoroni Youth FC which was relegated from the KPL in 2017.
“We want to improve sports infrastructure across the other six sub counties. This year we have budgeted Sh6 million for upgrading two stadiums on community or public land. In the next financial year we will work on two additional stadiums,” said Alai.
Governor Anyang Nyong’o plans to convert Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground into a public space where young people come to relax and to learn sports.