Some of Kenya’s top flight football teams, including last year’s third placed Tusker FC and 13-times champions AFC Leopards, will have to incur extra costs over the weekend as five stadiums are banned from hosting top-flight matches.
The stadiums, Ruaraka Sports Ground, Mumias Sports Complex, Thika Sub County Stadium, Camp Toyoyo and Chemelil Sports Complex were listed on the Kenya Premier League official website as having been banned by the Stadia Safety and Security Committee.
A statement on the KPL website on December 10 reads, “The stadia will remain banned until recommendations for the facelift are met.”
The development means that the football teams which have listed these stadiums as their home grounds, or alternative, will have to look for other pitches on which to play their 2018/2019 SportPesa Premier League matches.
This may see the teams affected as increased travel costs, or even additional rent costs for grounds. Similarly, their fans will have to adapt to the switches, meaning a little bite into the pocket may be forthcoming for some loyal football fans.
Teams affected by the stadium ban include Tusker FC, who play and train at Ruaraka Grounds, and Kariobangi Sharks who have Camp Toyoyo as their home ground. AFC Leopards will also not be in a position to use the Mumias Sports Complex while Mount Kenya United will be barred from using the Thika Sub County Stadium.
Chemeli Sugar FC, who play at the Chemelil Sports Complex are also hit.
“The field looks more of a grazing ground with over-grown grass both inside and the surrounding areas than a football playing field,” a report of a stadia inspection appearing on the KPL website reads on the Chemelil Sports Complex.
According to the report, the overgrown grass can conceal snakes, making it dangerous for spectators and players alike. “The playing area has also been invaded with ant hills and needs immediate attention,” the report adds.
The report also called out the Mumias Sports Complex, saying “Mumias Sugar Sports Complex looks seriously neglected with no visible activity going on. The playing surface has been invaded and infested with ant hills and will need immediate attention… ”
The stadium ban now places a heavy burden on the fields already in use, especially with the Nyayo National Stadium still being closed off to games due to renovations.