The County government of Nakuru will spend sh. 650 million to renovate and upgrade Afraha stadium to an international standard in the on-going multi-billion sporting upgrade programme.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the first phase of the rehabilitation works was over 30 per cent complete adding that the upgraded stadium would place Nakuru City as a premier sporting and conferencing destination.
While acknowledging that the stadium had been neglected for a long time, the governor said the stadium will increase the residents’ access to modern sporting facilities required for quality sports talent development and exposure.
He said the stadium was designed to provide international sporting arena for major national and international events which will attract revenue and create direct and indirect employment opportunities for Nakuru County residents.
“We as government have a responsibility to create every opportunity for youth to nurture and exploit their full potential,” Kinyanjui said.
The governor added that besides the stadium, the County government will upgrade roads leading to the facility to a pedestrian friendly standard so as to promote safety at the sporting facility.
County Executive Committee Member for Youth and Sports Engineer Lucy Kariuki said that the 80 year old and 30,000 capacity Afraha Stadium will be fitted with modern facilities that will elevate it to international standards.
Engineer Kariuki said once complete, Afraha stadium will have different facilities and offices including spectator areas, changing rooms, lockers, rooms for sports officials and team coaches, changing rooms for ancillary staff, public washrooms, First Aid and medical centre, pitch maintenance and control room, as well as VIP Lounge.
Other facilities at the stadium will include a Media Centre, VVIP Lounge, boardrooms, an anti-doping room and referee changing rooms.
Kariuki was happy that the stadium will host a basketball court, football, volleyball, rugby, hockey and netball pitches, a swimming pool and a hall for indoor games plus a gymnasium.
According to the County’s work plan, the renovation works at Afraha will also entail construction of an Olympic-size swimming pool, an indoor training area, new running tracks and outdoor game facilities.
Afraha stadium has been wrestling with vandalism and disrepair for ages which at one time attracted the attention of the Late President Daniel Arap Moi who ordered it fenced off in 1998. His move was also informed by a desire to wade off land grabbers who included councilors who had started hiving off parts of the facility’s land.
Rehabilitation works have also kicked off at the famous Kamukunji Sports Ground, one of the popular sporting grounds in the region after Afraha Stadium.
According to Engineer Kariuki, the Sporting upgrade programme also includes the construction of a fully equipped training camp for athletes and other sports in Keringet, Kuresoi South Constituency aimed at improving sports in the talent-rich region at a cost of Sh20 million.
The Director of Sports at the County Ms Alice Gekonde during a site inspection tour urged the contractor to hasten the progress of the construction to ensure they adhere to stipulated timeliness.
She added that the county was also rehabilitating Gilgil, Molo, Rongai, Kamkunji sports grounds and also reclaiming grabbed stadiums.
By Esther Mwangi and Agatha Agutu