When Kenyan Premier League side Kariobangi Sharks played English Premier League outfit Everton FC in an exhibition match at the Kasarani Stadium three months ago, the facility was in pristine condition.
The event’s main sponsor SportPesa, a leading gaming firm in Kenya, pulled all stops to ensure the 60,000 sitter capacity stadium met international standards, at least as far as the playing field was concerned.
First forward to Sunday, when the national team, Harambee Stars, hosted neighbours Uganda Cranes to an international friendly at the same venue, and it was clear the Kenya’s ONLY stadium had taken a beating from overuse and lack of maintenance.
To hire Kasarani Stadium for an international match, a club pays Sports Kenya up to Ksh 370k, exclusive 20% gate takings, for a local KPL match you part with around Ksh 60k, exclusive 15% gate takings, but it appears after pocketing the money they don't maintain the facility. pic.twitter.com/EGllGQw6M9
— Bonface Osano (@bonfaceosano) September 9, 2019
Dry patches were visible all over the pitch, but further away in the stands, a video taken by MadGoat TV Managing Director Tony Munyao shocked sports enthusiasts on social media.
The short clip gave Kenyans a glimpse into how Sports Kenya, the body mandated by the government to take care of our sporting facilities has neglected Kenya’s only CAF, the Confederation of African Football, approved stadium.
Dusty chairs, drainage system stuffed with plastic waste, peeling off paint and filthy toilets give you a very uncomfortable welcome to the over thirty year old stadium.
It costs water and firewood to hire the Kasarani Stadium from Sports Kenya, especially for international games. For example, Kenyan champions Gor Mahia parted with a cool Ksh472,360 to book the facility for their CAF Champions League match against Aigle Noir of Burundi last month. This amount is exclusive of 20% gate takings, which they also demand.
For KPL matches, clubs fork out up to Ksh60,000, exclusive of 15% gate takings. With the new KPL season having kicked off and Gor Mahia and Bandari still taking part in continental championships, Sports Kenya is sure of steady revenue stream, but the question begs, where do they take the money?