The Kilifi North Member of Parliament, Owen Baya has decried the lack of sporting facilities in Kilifi and asked the County Government and companies to invest in sports.
He particularly expressed concern over the lack of football stadia in the county, something that he said had made local clubs unable to host national and provincial league matches.
“We have been forced to borrow a football pitch at the Pwani University to allow Kilifi All Star, the main football club in the county, to host league matches,” he told journalists at the Watamu Sports and Leisure Centre over the weekend.
He lamented that some local clubs were not able to even travel to Mombasa for their matches due to lack of funds and asked area leaders to start taking sporting activities seriously.
“There are many clubs in Kilifi that would have advanced a lot, but they are giving away matches (walk overs) when they have to travel and they cannot do so due to lack of funds,” he said.
Baya said this during the Kenya National Karate Federation National Championships, where he also asked the county government, corporates and companies to sponsor local clubs.
“I do not think clubs can sustain themselves if sponsorship does not come from corporate, companies and organisations,” he said, adding, “The county government has not taken that initiative either.”
He said the talents of many youths were going to waste due to lack of sponsorship and called on the county government and corporates to consider sponsoring sports clubs and individual youths to nurture their talents.
Baya, who has expressed interest in the Kilifi gubernatorial seat in 2022, pledged to build a modern sports stadium in each of the seven constituencies within the first five years of his leadership.
“If we can invest in other sports such as karate, judo, table tennis, among other activities, our youths can compete in international competitions and bring honour, not just to the county but to the entire nation,” he said.
He said he had, through the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) purchased a bus to be used by sporting clubs, but said more was needed to develop sports and talents in the county.
During the championships, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Karate Club, Nairobi bagged both the kata and kumite titles, while the Muli Children Family (MCF) Karate club took the female kata championships.
By Emmanuel Masha