Nyayo Stadium ready for Mashemeji derby -PHOTOS
AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia players will contest Sunday’s SportPesa Premier League “Mashemeji derby” on an improved playing surface at the Nyayo Stadium.
This assurance was made on Wednesday by the venue’s General Manager Julius Mbii who spoke to Nairobi News in an exclusive interview at the venue.
Mr Mbii said that the administration has laid emphasis on repairing the pitch and tartan track during the last three months it was abruptly closed.
Nairobi News was compelled to visit the 30,000 seater Government owned venue to assess its state in the wake of the renovations, and hours after the Kenyan Premier League announced the stadium had been cleared to host the country’s biggest football match this weekend on an “exceptional” basis.
This despite the ongoing government commissioned renovations at the venue over the last three months, in readiness for both the IAAF World Under 18 Championship and the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) football tournament set to be staged there in July this year and January/February next year respectively.
The exercise to upgrade the pitch, according to Mbii, has caused Sh2 million.
He said the procedure was earmarked as “urgent and necessary” by Sports Kenya after the playing surface was extensively “damaged” in the last three years for hosting several competitive league games plus those involving the national football teams.
Said Mbii: “We have over the last three or so months worked on the playing pitch and removed the weed which had stretched especially during this rainy season. Our team then managed to re-plant some grass in other areas and as you can see it is in good shape.”
The stadium administrator however added that the venue was not a hundred percent ready as yet for use, and that separate works have been primed before the Chan games in early next year.
“When the request came in from the Kenyan Premier League people earlier this week, we were forced to consider it on an exceptional basis. Of course we will damage the grass after Sunday’s match but then we are ready to repair it and finish the remaining twenty percent of the works,” he added.
By last evening, final touches were being done on the vastly improved playing surface by the facility workers.
The pitch looked greener and fresher, and the playing surface was more level as compared to its state last November, save for a few bumpy areas.
There also were some additional ongoing works on the edges of the pitch and especially the corner flag, which has been dug afresh.
In a related development, Mbii confirmed that a new tartan track has been laid at the stadium and is ready for use.