It’s now official that Bandari Football Club will play their Caf Confederation Cup matches outside Mombasa due to the unavailability of the Mombasa Municipal Stadium.
The news has been met with disappointment with the club’s fans terming it as “shameful.”
“It's very shameful that a big county like Mombasa does not have a stadium to date while counties like Vihiga, Meru and even Narok have good stadiums,” Ismael Mohammed, a former Football Kenya Federation coast branch secretary and “Friends of Bandari” movement’s organising secretary said on Wednesday.
“This is a clear indication that the County Government of Mombasa has no vision for sports,” he added.
Bernard Osero, the Bandari FC vice chairman, said though painful and expensive, playing outside Mombasa is now inevitable since the Mombasa Municipal Stadium, which is now in a sorry state of affairs, remains closed while the Kenya Ports Authority’s Mbaraki Sports Ground, Bandari’s home ground, cannot be approved by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to host any international matches in its current state.
“It will be very painful to host our Caf matches outside Mombasa because this will deny several of our fans an opportunity to watch their team play and, at the same time, expensive because we as a team will spend so much money to prepare and host the matches outside Mombasa,” Osero, who is also the head of corporate affairs at Bandari FC’s parent company, KPA, said on Tuesday.
He noted that the upgrading of the Mbaraki Sports Club, which was among the options of ensuring the matches are played in Mombasa, would be difficult especially now that Bandari will be using the same facility for the new league season which kicks off in August.
“We could have easily closed down the facility for repairs because we have the capacity to do so after all the procurement procedures are properly followed, but that cannot just happen now with the new league season looming,” Osero said.
Bandari booked then ticket for the continental showcase after a winning the SportPesa Shield, thanks to a deserved 3-1 victory over Kariobangi Sharks in the final.
This came after another splendid performance of the SportPesa Premier League which saw the team finish a respectable second position behind back-to-back winners Gor Mahia FC for the second straight year.
The performance came with a lot of goodies with the management promising the team a week-long trip to South Africa where they are expected to pitch camp in preparation for the CAF matches and the league season.
Bandari patron Daniel Manduku, who is also the KPA managing director, also gave the players a Sh500,000 token on the final day of the season after promising to buy the team a new club bus exclusively for team travels.
Manduku had also directed the team’s board of management to meet and ensure the team’s salaries are reviewed upwards ahead of the new season to further motivate the players to perform even better next season.