Meru Football Association (MFA) has protested the delay by Sports Kenya in handing over Kinoru Stadium to the County Government for use by the community.
Addressing the media, MFA Chairman Mr. Joseph Mburu said it was unfortunate that since 2016, the stadium has never been opened for use by the community, a move that has dealt a blow to talent development and marketing of the local youth.
“We want to tell our government to know that our youth who are interested in sports cannot at the moment exploit and market their talents just because Sports Kenya has not handed over the stadium to the county government even after announcing that it was all set for use,” said Mburu.
He called on the government through the Sports Ministry to find reasons behind the delayed handover.
Mburu at the same time said that despite the fact that Sports Kenya had announced that the stadium was complete, there were some areas that needed improvement and that might be the reason for the delay in handing it over to the county government.
“Sports Kenya was supposed to ensure that there were seats at the stadium which are not there at the moment. There is also no lighting and the grass on the playing field is substandard even from a layman’s point of view,” said Mburu.
“We are also asking the county government not to accept the handover until the stadium is up to standard,” Mburu said, adding that young people in Meru County are eager to develop their talents but they cannot do it until the stadium is open for their use.
The Association’s Treasurer Mr. Peter Mbina said it was ironic that Sports Kenya was opening up the stadium for other social events including political rallies and the upcoming Johnnie Walker-themed music event this Saturday, to be highlighted by Nigerian Afrobeat singer Michael Adebayo-Olanyika alias Ruger but not for footballers.
“It is sad to note that our local football team, Mafuko Bombers were last weekend denied use of the facility on the grounds that it is incomplete, yet Sports Kenya was hiring it out for political and musical events,” said Mr. Mbina.
The national division two outfit was to play Kitengela Sportiff but was barred from entering the stadium, which was closed for renovation in 2016.
Municipality ward MCA Caleb Mutethia said the issue of opening up the stadium for use by footballers was a significant concern for the youth and stakeholders of Meru County and added it should be addressed immediately.
“I want to assure the young people, especially footballers that I will take up this matter with the seriousness it deserves including petitioning all those concerned with the construction of the stadium,” said Mr. Mutethia.
He termed it as a joke of the century that the stadium was open for use by musicians to promote alcohol rather than for the local youth who are yearning to develop their talents.
According to the leaders, the Association is currently drawing a petition to the County Assembly, Directorate of Criminal Investigation, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) among other agencies mandated to ensure public resources are utilised well.
Sports Kenya had earlier indicated that the Sh900 million facility was completed in June but it was yet to hand it over to the county government.
By Dickson Mwiti