As Team Kenya to this year’s IAAF U18 Youth Championships prepared to move to camp at Kenyattta University, they came to terms with the news of the sudden demise of Interior Cabinet secretary Joseph Nkaissery.
Hours before, Gen Nkaissery, in characteristic form, made a surprise visit to the Kasarani Stadium venue of the games last Friday (pictured centre) , including another one at the Kenyatta University accommodation and games village.
On the two visits, village he looked strong, energetic and jovial as ever. Later on Saturday, there was a dry run scheduled but Nkaissery, a former Major General in the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) missed it following his sudden death earlier in the morning.
On Friday, Nkaissery, an astute sportsman, went through the six hotels, dining hall and other recreational facilities at the university that will be used by the athletes Nkaissery would then make his way to the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani to assess the facilities at the 60,000-seater arena. Interestingly, instead of using the main entrance to the Stadium, he used the entry from the Thika Road Mall (TRM) to assess the construction work on the access road that will be used mainly by the technical officials.
Nkaissery wasn’t happy with the rubble left behind by the constructors hence Muthee had to assure him that they would be cleared on time for the next dry run that was due on Monday.
The former Kajiado North MP’s next stop was the warm-up track that was still being laid and the field events warm-up area where he was a little bit concerned with the slow work but the Italian engineers assured him that the track would be ready on time.
Nkaissery made it to the main arena where he inspected the dressing rooms and the track that was due to be marked. Even after First Lady Margaret Kenyatta toured the facilities to officially receive the Athletes Village keys on Monday, Nkaissery toured the two venues on Thursday and Friday to ensure what LOC promised had been implemented.
That is the zeal and passion that drove Nkaissery, whose desire was for Kenya to stage one of the most successful events, surpassing the standards set during the 1987 Africa Games and 2007 World Cross Country Championships.
“We are satisfied with the work that has so far been completed and what is remaining is something to do with mopping and sprucing up. We wanted to make a surprise dry run and I am not disappointed with what I have seen,” said Nkaissery.