A lot was expected when President Uhuru Kenyatta re-opened Nyayo Stadium in September last year ahead of the Kip Keino Classic, the World Athletics Gold Label meet.
The historic 30,000-seater facility, Kenya’s second largest stadium, had been closed for 41 months for renovations.
Then, football was the worst hit when the stadium was closed for renovation in May 2017, ahead of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN), which Kenya lost the hosting rights to Morocco because they were not ready to host the continental event.
The same challenge is back. On Friday, Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums from hosting international competitions.
The decision will see Gor Mahia and Tusker seek alternative venues either in Tanzania, Uganda or Rwanda to host their second round preliminary Confederation Cup matches against Otoho D’Oyo (Congo) and Cs Sfaxien of Tunisia.
When contacted on phone Sports Kenya Director General Pius Metto promised to call back. He did not and neither respond to our text messages. “I am in a meeting. Let me call back,” he simply said.
Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier said they will petition CAF on the matter.
“We still have a month to go before we host our home match. We will petition the concerned authorities to see if there is something that can be done. In case our concerns are not addressed, we will have to look for an alternative venue. It happened to Al-Ahly Merowe when we went to play them in Egypt after their stadiums in Sudan were not approved by CAF.
“If it comes to that we will have to look for another venue outside the country. But in short, we are going to appeal to those who are concerned to comply with the requirements of CAF,” he said.
Ironically, Kasarani stadium hosted the World Under 20 Athletics Championships last August.
CAF wrote: “Reference to the inspection visit conducted by CAF in Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani as
part of the stadiums assessment for homologation for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – African qualifiers, based on the inspection report, we regret to inform you that the stadium did not meet the set minimum CAF stadium requirements and consequently will not be approved for the qualifying matches of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
“Unfortunately, following the various temporary approvals given by CAF for the use of Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani Stadium in CAF competitions, the stadium still lacks several CAF criteria and requirements in order to properly host international senior competitions
“We issue a formal prohibition to use the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani for the remaining qualifying matches of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022. Note that until the implementation of all the requirements, a decision has also been taken not to allow the stadium to host other CAF men’s senior national teams and CAF men’s interclubs competitions,” CAF said.