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Machakos to build more stadiums; county that comes to rescue of Kenya sport steps up to the plate again

MACHAKOS County is currently constructing four stadia, out of a program to construct put up nine such new facilities by December of this year. Governor Alfred Mutua said it was critical to create facilities to keep youth occupied in the infrastructure that will also create careers for sportspersons and jobs who manage the industry.

“Even as we wait for jobs to grow, my Government will construct these facilities,” the Governor said adding: “This, after all, is what development is all about; building infrastructure, creating employment and opportunities for our great people of Kenya.”

Top: Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, refurbished on a shoe-string budget by Dr Alfred Mutua in 2013, these days comes as salvation to Kenyan domestic and international sport lacking in sporting infrastructure in throughout the country. Above, Governor Mutua of Machakos county encourages workers laying the foundation of one of the planned nine new stadiums in the county

Top: Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, refurbished on a shoe-string budget by Dr Alfred Mutua in 2013, these days comes as salvation to Kenyan domestic and international sport lacking in sporting infrastructure in throughout the country. Above, Governor Mutua of Machakos county encourages workers laying the foundation of one of the planned nine new stadiums in the county

He added: “Currently, the state of idleness among our youth is a matter of great concern. Kenya in general has to come up with programs and projects to provide our youth opportunities and also keep them busy.

Governor Mutua added: “youth unemployment and inactivity is a ticking bomb. Youth, by nature, are restless and even more so when they are at a productive stage and live in a country where opportunities have shrunk.”

Governor Alfred Mutua (right) inspects yet another foundation for a stadium in Machakos

Governor Alfred Mutua (right) inspects yet another foundation for a stadium in Machakos

Among the nine stadiums earmarked in Machakos County, the Governor said at least some must be of the level of approval by world organisations such as IAAF (Federation of International Athletics Associations) and Fifa (the world’s football governing body) “so that Machakos will from next year, be able to host an international event. Hey, who knows, we will even be able to host a World Cup-type event in Machakos County alone.”

And this is the foundation for the main stand in another stadium

And this is the foundation for the main stand in another stadium

The stadiums’ foundations being laid and which the Governor was inspecting in the last few days included in:

Athi River

Ikombe

Masii

Kinyui (near Tala)

The new stadiums’ construction work which will start in July, this year, will be in:

Mitaboni

Kangundo

Ekalakala

Kalama

Machakos town

The Governor said of the projects: “The plan is to engage our youth and to grow talent in a structured way. We are also uplifting the standards of sub-counties and promoting tourism. These stadiums, such as the Mavoko one, whose ongoing work I have inspected, will feature a youth academy building and social hall to be used by our youth.

Governor Alfred Mutua at a tea place in Machakos town central business district. He said such a forum enables him to listen to citizens' opinion on how their Government should serve them in providing services and development

Governor Alfred Mutua at a tea place in Machakos town central business district. He said such a forum enables him to listen to citizens’ opinion on how their Government should serve them in providing services and development

“In Machakos, my Government is providing free training at our 39 polytechnics so as to empower our Machakos youth. I have directed my ministry of youth, together with other departments to start collecting data of the actual number of youth who are unemployed, their skill levels and income. This will help me plan better for them.”

Though an ambitious project, Governor Mutua has a track record where he has dared, and come off with top marks, on that field. Kenya’s current national Government under the Jubilee Party administration has received running criticism for having promised, over seven years ago to construct nine major stadiums in the country which has never happened. Sports Kenya, the parastatal mandated to build sporting infrastructure and manage sports projects in the country is viewed negatively for having started building of over a dozen medium level stadiums around the country, all which have stalled in at least Eldoret, Iten, Gatundu South and Makueni.

Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos hosts a Cecafa Challenge Cup, 2017 soccer match

Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos hosts a Cecafa Challenge Cup, 2017 soccer match

Its a modest Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos but its changing room facilities are of world standards

It is a modest Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos but its changing room facilities are of world standards

But in 2013, Governor Mutua astounded everyone by hurriedly turning a dust-bowl of a ground that was in Machakos into a Kenyatta Stadium, seating 8,000, which could host 11 nations in the Cecafa (Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations) Challenge Cup in November that year. His personal crusade on a shoe-string budget provided a venue that to this day is saviour to many international football event including the Kenya Premier League (KPL).

Frederick Muteti (left), chairman of the Sports Kenya Board, at Moi International Sports Centre updates Deputy President William Ruto about progress of providing sports infrastructure in the country. But outside Nairobi, in the entire country Sports Kenya-initiated stadium building projects have stalled

Frederick Muteti (left), chairman of the Sports Kenya Board, at Moi International Sports Centre updates Deputy President William Ruto about progress of providing sports infrastructure in the country. But outside Nairobi, in the entire country Sports Kenya-initiated stadium building projects have stalled

One of many Sports Kenya projects round the country – the stalled Karatu Stadium, in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard, Gatundu South

One of many Sports Kenya projects around the country – the stalled Karatu Stadium, in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard, Gatundu South

Kenyatta Stadium is now so much overused because of lack of alternative venues in the country that is almost a miracle that is has not torn apart. Most KPL clubs (all from outside Machakos County) invade the stadium, at times almost four times a week (with some double-headers) and the facility often suffers wear and tear.

A lot of people will therefor give a lot credence to Governor Mutua’s believe that Machakos will see a lot more success in creation of sports infrastructure.

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