Machakos' Kenyatta Stadium bears the brunt for hosting too many KPL games
- It’s the preferred home ground for some Nairobi teams following closure of City, Nyayo stadiums
- Of the 380 league games played last year, 112 were held at the overused facility
A total of 380 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) matches were played in 2019, out of this 112 were staged at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos making it the most overused facility in the period.
As a result, the stadium’s surface is rapidly wearing out and has become muddy owing to the rains.
KPL clubs KCB, Posta Rangers, Sofapaka, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia all host their home matches at Machakos. League leaders Tusker use the field as their alternative venue whenever their Ruaraka home ground is closed for renovation works mainly on the surface.
Mathare United and Kariobangi Sharks use the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani.
The other Nairobi-based top-tier teams should ideally be hosting their matches at the Nyayo National Stadium and City Stadium. Nyayo was closed for renovation two years after work started and City Stadium was barred from hosting KPL matches in 2016. Last year, after the Nation Sport carried a story on the dilapidated state of City Stadium the County Government of Nairobi did some patchwork on the terraces. Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko announced the progress on his Facebook page.
But it turned out to be an empty promise since to date the county government has not completed the task.
Contractual and financial issues continue to derail works at the Nyayo National Stadium. A reliable source from Sports Kenya confirmed to Nation Sport that the contractor has once again downed tools.
“We have no specific date when the stadium will be ready as the works are yet to be completed. As we speak, the contractor is not on site and we have a lot of unresolved issues,” the source revealed.
KPL chief executive officer Jack Oguda said the lack of a stadium fit to host top-tier matches in Nairobi is hurting the league.
“Travelling and hosting matches in Machakos is costly for Nairobi-based teams especially in these harsh economic times. Clubs are also losing out on revenue as they cannot get many fans to attend their matches in Machakos as they would have ideally done if the games were played in Nairobi. This, too, has a ripple effect on the value of the league as the games played in Machakos attract very few fans,” Oguda told Nation Sport.
Machakos County Chief Sports Officer Carlos Kioko, however, says they are working on building more stadiums to ease of the pressure on Kenyatta Stadium.
“We try to limit the usage of the pitch to not more than four matches every weekend and we also have a capable team that works on ensuring the surface is in good shape by replanting grass and watering the surface regularly. We are also in the first phase of developing nine new stadiums in every sub county in Machakos,” Kioko said.
“Two stadiums in Ikombe and Kinyoi will be completed in the next four months while work on a new stadium at the new Machakos City that will have a capacity of 20,000 people have begun. Once these facilities are completed, the Kenyatta Stadium will not host as many matches as it is doing currently,” Kioko said.
The Kenyatta Stadium was upgraded at a cost of Sh800 million in 2017 as it was earmarked to host the African Nation Championship (Chan) in 2018.