Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has urged the authorities to close down Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos to save it from overuse for the country to be able to host the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Harambee Stars and Ghana in early September.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa said the facility, which is one of the two CAF-certified grounds alongside Kakamega’s Bukhungu, has been rendered threadbare largely due to hosting many Kenyan Premier League (KPL) matches which necessitates its closure for improvements to be made before the qualifier.
“The stadium which is the only one which meets international standards is in pretty bad shape and unless it is closed, Stars will have nowhere to host Ghana and the rest of their opponents in the qualifiers.
If this is not done, it will be untenable to play in a neutral venue,” said Mwendwa. His remarks comes in the wake of fears that Stars may play Ghana out of the country due to lack of a stadium that meets international standards.
This is amidst reports that the company, which has been contracted to repair four other stadia including Kasarani, Nyayo, Kinoru and Kipchoge Keino has ceased operations due to the delay by the government to pay workers for the last three months.
The 10,000-seater Kenyatta Stadium is currently hosting eight KPL matches in a week thus affecting the playing surface which has elicited complaints, the latest of which came from Tunisian club Esperance during their Africa Champions League first round first leg match against Gor Mahia two weeks ago.
The Machakos County government-owned stadium is the only facility in Kenya which has been given the nod by CAF to host the Afcon qualifiers as others like Bukhungu (Kakamega) and Afraha (Nakuru) do not meet the threshold due to poor lighting, lack of CCTV cameras and inappropriate dressing rooms.