OJUANG: In absence of new stadiums let’s improve our old pitches - Daily Nation

In absence of new stadiums let’s improve our old pitches

Monday March 11 2019

A section of Nyayo Stadium which has been undergoing refurbishment since last year on June 28, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO |

A section of Nyayo Stadium which has been undergoing refurbishment since last year on June 28, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MOSES OJUANG'
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There is no man worthy of pity than a married bachelor.

It may seem like a paradox to those that do not look deeper into the statement, but to the wise, it can make them nod in agreement.

Likewise, our country at the moment deserves pity on the part of the stadiums that we have. We had the opportunity to visit just a few of them and we must admit that they are not even worth being called stadiums.

They ought to have a new baptism. Several teams have played at the Afraha Stadium and we do not know any coach who has praised the playing surface there.

All of them had very nasty words about its condition.

There are many players who have sprained their ankles and in one funny instance a referee limped off the pitch in agony. The playing surface is like a ploughed farm and the stands are rotten.

It is not Afraha alone, in Mombasa city, the stadium is in terrible state and is at the moment not in use. Some high schools have better pitches than the Mombasa county stadium.

Several elections ago, we were promised stadiums — 47 of them — in each county. The joke had gone too far and some common sense prevailed and they were reduced them to five good ones.

Even before the bad breath that promised them had ceased to sting our noses, five years had passed and elections were there again. The fetid choking breath once again promised not just the five but nine more! This time round stadiums are forgotten but the rate of the diffusion of that foul breath is too slow since it is very dense in the air.

We admit it was all lies and we knew it even as it was being pronounced.

All we are asking for is just a facelift of the existing facilities. It is a grand shame to see football matches played in the country. It seems almost magical that they happen at all.

These are the few small things that we have harped on for God knows how long but it seems a task in vain. It was the same situation in 1996 when we failed to host the Africa Cup of Nations simply because the so called fathers of the nation could not prepare our stadium. We did not go for that competition in South Africa because as presumed hosts we did not need to play qualifiers.

The poor Harambee Stars players missed that opportunity because of incompetence.

The same scenario was repeated a few years back and when we saw half-hearted attempts to refurbish the pitches, we knew our national shame had reached its highest.

One wonders why we even bid for these things. We are so shameless indeed and something must be done now.

It seems we can neither level playing surfaces nor plant grass. The sports ministry must now, more than ever before, do something about this annoying issue.

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