By ALI ABDI
Isiolo County government will rehabilitate the Isiolo Stadium at a cost of Sh50 million and sponsor a team to the Kenya Football Federation Nationwide League.
Governor Godana Doyo said his administration will upgrade the facility in preparation for local sides that will feature in national leagues to use it as its home ground.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Executive in charge of Education, Sports and Culture and Social Services, Ahmed Shone, Doyo said the upgrading of the stadium is part of the county’s plan to improve on sporting facilities.
‘‘The money (Sh 50 million) will be used to erect a perimeter wall around the (Isiolo) stadium, put stands and improve the pitch. Football teams from Isiolo will use the facility as their home ground,’’ said the Governor.
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Shone made the remarks on Wednesday when he flagged-off Isiolo Youth FC who were travelling to Machakos to participate in Eastern region mini league tournament that runs until October10.
To qualify for the Machakos tournament, IsioloYouth FC, who will join the FKF Nationwide league, beat Marsabit, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties to emerge Upper Eastern champions.
Doyo called on football clubs in the county to work hard and ensure that they join the second-tier league and eventually reach the Kenyan Premier League, saying Isiolo has a lot of potential.
‘‘Isiolo had a representative in the Kenyan Premier League in the 1980s and it is high time we got back there. We want to upgrade out stadium because it is in very bad state,’’ he said.
For three seasons in the mid-1980s, Vickers FC represented Isiolo at the premier league but used Meru’s Kinoru Stadium as their home ground due to bad state of Isiolo Stadium.
Shone said the county has a big number of talented youth in football and pointed to ex-Taqwa player, Abdi Malik who joined Gor Mahia and later moved to play professional football in Sweden.
At the same time, Shone revealed that Isiolo will stage an annual marathon dubbed the Great North Marathon annually starting this year.
‘‘We have a big potential in athletics, especially in long distances and marathon that has not been exploited. We shall set up the necessary facilities and look for sponsors in order to exploit the available talent,’’ he said.
Isiolo County Commissioner Wanyama Musiambo called on the players to maintain high standards of discipline during the Machakos tournament.