The national government has embarked on construction of four new sports stadia to nurture talent and promote sporting activities across the country.
The flagship projects at Jamhuri (Nairobi), Wang’uru (Kirinyaga), Kirigiti (Kiambu) and Mamboleo (Kisumu) are set to be completed in six months.
Ministry of Sports Secretary Josephine Onunga said the government targets to use the facilities to nurture sports talent among the youth to help address unemployment.
“With these facilities in place we are going to attract talent developers and at the same time promote sports tourism in the country,” she said.
Speaking on Wednesday at Mamboleo Show grounds in Kisumu where the ministry is constructing 12, 000 seater Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, Onunga said the facilities will attract tourists who are eager to tap into the country’s sporting prowess and in return boost the economy of the four regions.
Onunga who officially handed over the site to the contractor called for partnership between the county governments and national government to develop sports infrastructure across the country.
Through the partnership, she said other infrastructure including facilities for indoor games, basketball and rugby shall be put in place to support the four stadia.
He challenged the youth to take advantage of the facility once it is completed to put Kisumu on the map in sports.
“Rift Valley region has focused on athletics and they are known for that. We want Nyanza and Western regions to take advantage of this development and identify themselves with a particular sport that they can excel in,” she said.
According to the Ministry of Sports Architect James Murugu, Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium will have an eight lane running track, playing field, VIP pavilion, media center, board room, changing rooms, stands, modern ablution blocks and parking.
Speaking during the same occasion, Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o thanked the president for initiating the project saying it will assist thousands of youth in the area and neighbouring counties.
The stadium, he added, will also complement Moi Sports Stadium which is undergoing renovations.
The county government, he said, targets to use the two facilities and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports Complex to promote Kisumu as a sports and Leisure City.
He added that plans were underway to develop a water sporting center on the Shores of Lake Victoria.
“We have already identified space and soon we shall hold talks with the ministry of Sports to start the project,” he said.
This financial year, he said, the county government will develop eight parks within the city to market Kisumu as a sports and leisure city.
By Chris Mahandara