Govt to construct five modern sports stadia
12 December 2013, 08:50
Nairobi - The government will build five sports stadia across the country to bolster the chances of winning bids to host international sporting events.
Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Hassan Wario, pledged on Wednesday that alongside the constructions, all the dilapidated arenas will undergo rehabilitation to bring them to acceptable standards.
"Most development of sports in the country has been hindered by sub-standard facilities," Wario said during the 2013 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) held in Nairobi.
"Building of the new arenas will increase Kenya's sporting prowess in a world where sports is big business and governments worldwide invest hugely in ensuring the best facilities."
Among the items Kenya has on the cards is to bid to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and in the same year the World Athletics Championships.
Wario promised better funding for national teams through a national lottery scheme as well as a sizeable portion from the national budget and tax waiver on imported sports equipment.
"We will establish a National Lottery Scheme, boosted by National budget allocations to fund and support professionalization across the major sporting disciplines," the cabinet secretary said.
His sentiments were supported by the Vice Chairperson of the Parliamentary Sports Committee, Tia Galgalo, who said she will press for the implementation of the vows.
"I promise to use the vantage position I occupy in the Parliamentary Committee to set in motion systems that will actualize the promises that have been made."
The 60,000-seater Chinese-built Safaricom Stadium located in Kasarani about 10km to the east of Nairobi is the country's flagship porting arena that hosted the 1987 All Africa Games.
The second biggest stadium in Kenya is the 20,000-seater Nyayo National Stadium which was constructed in 1983 and is a preferred venue for many sporting activities owing to its central location and proximity to the city center.
If the promise to construct new and modern venues comes to fruition, the stadia will be located in the towns of Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru and Garissa.
During the occasion, 3,000m world champion Ezekiel Kemboi was declared Kenya's 2013 sportsman of the year whereas reigning women's world marathon champion and winner of this year's World Marathon Majors, Edna Kiplagat, was named sportswoman of the year.