Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba recently addressed concerns about the deplorable state of stadiums in Kenya, placing blame on the previous administration for neglecting sports facilities across the country.

During an inspection of the Bukhungu Stadium construction, Namwamba emphasized that sports facilities in Kenya have suffered from decades of neglect, spanning over 40 years. He highlighted instances where the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) had to arrange a World Cup qualifier for the Harambee Stars in Malawi due to inadequate facilities domestically.

“Kenya has long neglected its sports facilities. There has been little to no serious investment in this sector for many years. Nyayo Stadium, Kasarani, and attempts to construct new facilities have all faced significant challenges,” stated Namwamba.

The CS pointed out that despite several stadiums being designated as international, they fail to meet FIFA standards. He acknowledged previous assurances to renovate Nyayo Stadium to meet required standards by June 2024. However, recent decisions to have the national team play matches in Malawi have drawn criticism, highlighting government unpreparedness and lack of foresight.

Namwamba’s statement follows recent tensions among Kenyan athletes threatening to boycott the upcoming Olympic trials. The dilemma stems from the closure of Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums, the only two World Athletics-accredited venues in Kenya, for renovation.

Athletics Kenya (AK) faces challenges in selecting a venue for the Olympic trials scheduled from June 14-15. The Ulinzi Complex, proposed as an alternative, lacks World Athletics certification. This raises concerns that race times recorded at Ulinzi would not qualify athletes for the Olympic Games slated for July to August.

With a looming qualification deadline of June 30, athletes fear being excluded from the Olympics due to venue limitations. These developments underscore the urgent need for comprehensive infrastructure improvements to support Kenya’s sporting aspirations.