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SPORTS

Bull Ring Stadium in Kakamega continues to exceed expectations as the pride of the region

SPORTS
By Brian Kisanji and Michelle Muchelule | April 16th 2022 | 3 min read

Natural lush green grass welcomes you inside the Bull Ring Rugby Stadium located a stone throw away from Kakamega airstrip.

Players make magic moves by sliding on the wild but well-tended and flawless grass without fear of injuries.

It is here that Fijian full-back Jone Kubus scored a scintillating try, five penalties and two conversions to help Kabras Sugar Rugby Football Club lift the 2021-2022 Kenya Cup on March 12 after humiliating Menengai Oilers.

Hosting key matches has earned the stadium fame of some sort. The name 'Bull Ring' is derived from bullfighting, a popular sport in Western.

Currently, Kabras Sugar and Western Bulls rugby football clubs use the stadium as their home ground.

The facility’s patron and co-founder Rajinder Singh Sembi alias Pape says Bull Ring Stadium has been instrumental in nurturing talents and developing rugby football in Kenya since it was opened in 2016.

“It is unbelievable that we have made huge strides between 2016 and today. This stadium has hosted Kenya Cup Finals, which is a top tier rugby union championship in Kenya organised by the Kenya Rugby Union,” said Sembi.

According to him, it is the dream of every player to play on a greener natural field like what The Bull Ring offers.

The stadium’s rising fortunes appear to have surpassed the expectations of the founders, who never imagined it would host world-class matches even with its modest amenities.

“We are proud of it because the stadium has become an icon in Kenya’s rugby history and has changed the perception people had about the game in Western Kenya,” said Sembi.

The Kenya cup finals saw fans start trickling in as early as 6 am, ready for the showdown. By the time the whistle was blown at 3 pm, it was parked to the brim.

Western Bulls Rugby Football Club, also known as Echulusi (bull), is one of the teams playing in the national top tier. It was formed in 2011 to help promote rugby in Western Kenya and nurture young talents.

When The Bull Ring stadium was created, owners of the facility thought it wise to make it Western Bulls' home ground. Since then, many, including foreigners, have played at the stadium whose popularity continues to grow.

“We have talented young players in Western and the club has produced many currently playing in top tier league and as professionals elsewhere,” said Sembi.

The official, a former Kenya rugby international player, coordinates operations at the stadium. “My desire is to grow the sport and nurture talents.”

Famous players who started their careers at The Bull Ring include Bush Mwale, a Kenyan Rugby Sevens player, David Chenge, the captain at Kenya 15s, Alvin Musonye, commonly known as Bufaa, who plays for Homeboyz Rugby Football Club.

Like any other sports arena, The Bull Ring faces a myriad of challenges, including a lack of sponsorship and funding to elevate the facility to international status. According to Sembi, financial challenges saw Western Bulls drop in performance and was relegated to second-tier championship after a string of poor results.

“Despite it being a good thing for the players to have a stadium, it is hard to have it maintained without proper funding. That explains why our stadium has not made remarkable improvement.”

 

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