The heavy rainfall pounding different parts of the country has left behind large pools of water at the Embu stadium, leaving residents wondering if taxpayers got value for their money in the facility’s upgrading by the Embu County Government.
After every heavy downpour, the running tracks and the pitch are flooded rendering the stadium unusable for days, as residents jokingly term it a “swimming pool”. Inquisitive residents and sports people claim the county government has spent upwards of Sh300 million in upgrading of the facility, they cannot see what such as a huge amount has done.
They said every year Sh50 million is pumped towards the stadium face-lifting or repairs.
The grass that was planted is no more while the drainage system is almost nonexistent such that storm water renders it unusable. However, Youth Empowerment and Sports Chief Officer Samuel Wachira insists only Sh87 million has been spend on the stadium since the advent of the devolution in 2013.
Wachira says the stadium would require at least Sh2 billion to upgrade it to attain FIFA standards.
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The stadium was one of Governor Martin Wambora’s flagship project when he was elected in 2013. The stadium is strategically seated in the middle of Embu town and catches the attention of travellers along the NairobiMeru Highway.
The stadium, alongside the high altitude Kigari area, is used as a training ground by national athletes as they prepare for international competitions.
Three years ago, Premier League teams such as Tusker FC, KCB FC and AFC Leopards FC had expressed interest to use the stadium as their home ground due its proximity to Nairobi. In 2017, AFC Leopards led by coach Stewart Hall pitched tent at the stadium for days raising the hopes of residents.
Hall then said the county would have to improve the pitch to KPL standards by erecting a fence and the various structures. He said in its then state it was only good for training sessions.
The teams however kept off the stadium due to delays to develop it to the desired standards. Boaz Simotwa, an athlete, told the press that it is hard to train at the stadium as the tracks have worn out yet they train in groups.
Esau Muriithi, an FKF official, concurred stating that the stadium remains in a condition that cannot not allow it being used properly even after gobbling millions of shilling.
Residents say practicing in the stadium during rainy seasons is not advisable people easily get wet and later complain of chest pain. They said during sunny periods, the stadium is dusty.
A player, Joseph Ngumbau poked more holes into the quality of work already done saying even the grass that was planted in the pitch at a huge cost did not last.
Embu Boxing Association Treasurer Wawira Njue decried that since 2013, the county government had been allocating Sh50 million annually for the stadium work yet its standards had not improved.
She called on the EACC to investigate how the money was used and take action against any loss of public funds.