I miss Nyayo National Stadium! This is why I have decided to focus on the once vibrant venue this week. I must say what has drawn my attention is the Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jackson Tuwei’s statement on Tuesday that the venue will host this year’s World Championship trials next month.
I am not sure the venue is ready to host the event, but I hope he is privy to something I don’t know.
However, if the status quo remains, then I think we will really have to hustle to make do with the venue. I honestly think this is a good venue for the trials, considering the locality, capacity and even the vibrancy.
We would all love to compete and attend matches at Nyayo National Stadium, but in its current state, it’s a shame. We can’t purport to promote sports when our main venue apart from the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani is in a deplorable state.
Let us face it. What will take the government to complete this facility? The last time athletics in particular held an event there was in 2015, just before the World Championships in Beijing, China.
Since then, the facility has remained dormant and it is threatening to degenerate into a worse state.
As a nation, we need to prioritise the facility and halt works on other projects. You and I know that we can not purport to speed up work on each and every stadium in this country and succeed.
I know it’s one thing to play politics and it is quite another to ensure the citizens get value for the tax they pay. I am particularly talking about sportsmen and women who continue suffering because of the unavailability of the facility.
For example, poor clubs in football are forced to spend heavily to take part in matches as far away as Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, and at Kinoru Stadium in Meru. Remember, City Stadium has equally been dormant for a while and I had even forgotten about it.
Like Nyayo, it kept me thinking the other day when the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga suggested that it should be named after the late football legend Joe Kadenge.
But first things first. I guess the best thing would be to renovate the facilities. A country like Kenya deserves more training facilities but for now, I can only cry for the revival of Nyayo Stadium.
The sight of the stadium gives one the impression of a facility vacated 10 years ago. I’m sure the government can push through this project if it means to, and that is all I am requesting for. Other facilities in other towns can wait.
As hosts of an important event like 2020 World Under-20 Championships, we always need to work with alternatives and Nyayo Stadium is perfect one.