The Narok stadium has now officially been renamed Ole Ntimama stadium, by the ministry of sports as a befitting recognition of departed Maa icon the late William Ole Ntimama.
The renaming of the stadium in honour of the man who served as both councilor and MP in the country follows an outcry by the Maa community and leaders who wanted to honor their fallen hero.
Speaking during the Maa-prayer meeting that was held at the stadium located in Narok North sub-county Friday, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Mr. Keriako Tobiko said Sports Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed had approved the renaming of the stadium because Ntimama was a Maasai icon and a great leader in the history of our country.
“In the next two weeks, a team from the ministry of sports and national government officials will visit the area to identify works that need to be immediately undertaken on the stadium in honour of this great hero,” he added.
Tobiko further said that the intention of ministry of sports is to bring up the stadium into International Football Federation (Fifa) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) standards by March of 2020.
His sentiments were echoed by Director and founder of Centre for Mau forest conservation and restoration Patu Santau Naikumi who welcomed the new development saying it was long overdue, because the stadium was Ntimama`s dream since he was a councillor.
“We appreciate the government efforts to expand the stadium to a multi-facility arena, with other indoor games like swimming which will promote talent of our people,” he said
The move to rename the stadium was made in early October during the burial of former Transport and Licensing Board chairman Hassan ole Kamwaro and was supported by Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who praised Ntimama’s efforts to unite and defend the rights of Maasai community.
He was responding to a request by Ntimama’s daughter Lydia Ntimama, who had asked the former premier to intervene so that the stadium is renamed in honour of the former Narok North MP.
The late Ntimama died on September 1, 2016 at the age of 89.
The prayers were also attended by governors Samuel Ole Tunai (Narok) and Joseph Ole Lenku (Kajiado) among other Maa leaders.
By Mabel Keya – Shikuku and Kevin Bogita