A recent promise by President Uhuru Kenyatta to help AFC Leopards build a stadium is good news to Ingwe fans, but the hundred million dollar question is who has the title deed for the land given to the club by the late President Daniel arap Moi in 1992?
Leopards and sworn rivals Gor Mahia benefited from Moi’s philanthropy owing to their sterling performance. But 28 years later, Ingwe is yet to develop the plot adjacent to the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Former international Peter Lichungu said Gor and Leopards were each given Sh3 million during the State House function. K’Ogalo had won the Caf Winners’ Cup in 1987, while AFC Leopards had won the Cecafa trophy for keeps.
It’s a shame for Leopards, which was formed over four decades ago in 1964, to continue training at hired venues when it owns land that is lying idle. For many years, Ingwe have used Nyayo National Stadium for their home matches, however, the facility is in high demand for other functions. As a result, Leopards are forced to look for alternative grounds for their fixtures.
Ingwe, the oldest club in the Kenyan Premier League, sometimes uses Machakos, Bukhungu, Mumias, Afraha and Kasarani stadiums after Nyayo was closed for renovation in 2016.
K’Ogalo boss Ambrose Rachier has assured Gor fans that their land in Embakasi is safe. He promises to build a stadium before leaving office, but nothing is forthcoming from Leopards’ managers. Gor opted for land in Embakasi along Old Airport Road after the management of Kasarani Stadium took the land they had been allocated by Moi.
Leopards should start negotiating with the Sports Stadia management board, which also lays claim to their land at Kasarani. Lichungu says he is willing to provide documents to help Ingwe reclaim their land.
Some years back, former AFC Leopards chairman Alex ole Magelo tried to fence off the land to ward off grabbers, but the club was not sure of the exact spot where the land is located. A surveyor was sent there, but some squatters claimed they had bought the land, but lacked documents.
Lichungu says the club’s initial plan was to put up hostels for players and a training base. I fear the land may have fallen into the hands of unscrupulous people in collusion with wayward Ministry of Lands officials. The government’s efforts to reclaim public land acquired illegally should be supported by all.