Mombasa County has allocated over Sh500 million for new facilities and development of sports
Despite allocating millions of shillings to sports, coastal county has no facility that can host national, let alone regional, events.
Since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution that devolved resources and responsibilities, many counties have built several modern sporting facilities.
Some counties have constructed stadia good enough to host national and international events.
Mombasa County, however, concentrated on putting up multi-million shilling 7-A-side stadia while the flagship 50-year-old Mombasa Stadium lies in ruins.
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In the past five years, Mombasa has built two mini stadiums that have hosted several tournaments.
Bomu Stadium, West of Mombasa that cost the county Sh85 million can only accommodate up to 3,000 spectators while the Uwanja Wa Mbuzi stadium that cost Sh75 million can comfortably accommodate 2,000 fans.
These two mini stadiums were built during the tenure of Brazil-trained coach Babu Rajab, who was the county’s chief executive in the Department of Sports, Youth and Gender.
The privately-owned Kenya Ports Authority’s Mbaraki Sports Club remains the only standard facility that can host Kenyan Premier League matches.
For five years now, the construction of Mombasa Stadium has dragged. The county attributes it to “failure to secure the right contractor to come up with world-class design that meets procurement processes.”
During the 2019/2020 financial year, the county allocated the Sports Department Sh208,583,660. The amount was increased to Sh495,595,000 this financial year.
County chief executive in charge of Sports Innocent Mugabe said residents should be patient as the construction had begun. “The stadium, which is expected to be completed in 18 months will have four changing rooms, separate changing rooms for men and women referees, a multipurpose arena for basketball, netball, futsal and volleyball.
“It will also have a standard 50m swimming pool and a restaurant that will accommodate 790 persons and a conference hall for 3,000 persons.
He added: “The stadium will also have a fully furnished media center that will rival the best in the world.”
Meanwhile, the county says it is determined to improve sports up to the ward level and will therefore embark on construction of playing grounds in all the six sub-counties. The county says part of the allocated funds is meant to empower women, youth and people living with disability through entrepreneurship trainings, talent development and provision of startup kits through a revolving fund.
Standard Sports has established that in the last financial period, the county distributed playing kit to 120 football teams and renovated four playgrounds.
The county also donated money to the organisers of the Sports Personality of the Year Award (Soya), which was held at Mombasa Sports Club in January this year.
Mombasa County Finance Committee chairman Mohammed Hatimy attributed the slow pace of works on the stadium to ballooning costs. Hatimy insisted the department lacks funds to promote sports activities at the county level.
However, Hatimy said the county had considerably increased allocations aimed at improving and developing new sports facilities.
“The county is in the process of formulating, mainstreaming and implementing responsive programmes through coordinated strategies for sustainable and balanced socio-economic development and empowerment of vulnerable and marginalised groups,” Hatimy said.
Chairman of the County Sports Committee Tobias Samba, who is also the MCA for Tudor Ward, said a task force had been formed to oversee the implementation of the ‘Kandanda Bill’, which is meant to uplift standards of sports in the county.