What became of the much talked about ultra-modern 9,000-capacity Homa Bay Stadium that was to be build from scratch in 2014?
After a ground breaking ceremony five years ago the only thing to show for the project is a corrugated iron sheet fence surrounding the land the stadium is meant to lie and mounds of earth and craters created by excavation machines on site.
According to the Homa Bay County’s executive for sports, Fredrick Odero, in the financial year 2014-2015 the devolved unit set aside Sh200m for the project that would occupy about 4.5 acres.
Another Sh160m was allocated for the stadium construction this financial year.
In January, the Auditor General Edward Ouko released a report revealing that one of the contractors was paid despite not completing work contracted to do.
The contractor, Manjano Enterprises Limited, was to build a perimeter wall and related works for the stadium at a cost of Sh28million.
However, the firm was paid Sh5million but failed to complete the work, and in fact moved away from the site.
“The contractor had erected columns (pillars) covering half of the stadium’s perimeter only but thereafter abandoned the site,” indicated the report.
The construction works resumed on July 5 this year with authorities in the region saying that the project will now be finalised in the next one and a half years.
“We hope that work on this facility that resumed about two months ago and is estimated to take one and half years to completion will proceed well amid the teething problems raised by National Environment Management Authority (Nema),” said Odero.
He further noted that “We are determined to ensure that work on this project is not interfered with or delayed”.
It is alleged that the county government had failed to comply with the regulations laid down by Nema before starting the constructions.
The major works the main contractor, Six-Eleven Energy Limited, has carried out so far are; site clearance, construction of office store and demolition of the existing structures. The perimeter wall is half complete.
County officials say the stadium will be oval shaped with two wings — north and south. Each wing has a 2,000 capacity stand alongside a VIP pavilion with a capacity of 3,000, terrace with 2,000 people. The playing surface is artificial.
Other features are an eight lanes tartan track, modern changing rooms and underground offices.
However, no artistic impression of the sports structure were provided despite repeated requests by Nation Sport.
The county government has however announced that it will only concentrate on the main stadium before considering constructing the other facilities.
Odero hinted that they will seek financial help from the private sector and the national government after completion of phase one which will involve putting up of the main pavilion and the artificial turf.
“We will finalise phase one and later use it as a display to ask for assistance from potential well-wishers as the funds we have are not enough,” he said.
“We will not start any other project until this one has been finalised. However, we have long term plans to construct three other sports facilities at the sub county level,” said the county’s director for sports Francis Guma.
The region comprises eight sub counties which have been clustered into three regions where other stadiums will be constructed according to Guma.
“By 2022, we hope we will be able to improve the other three facilities which I cannot refer to as stadiums but medium-size sub county sports facilities,” he said.
No sports facility in Homa Bay meets the minimum requirement laid down the Kenyan Premier League to host its fixtures.
Construction work at Homa Bay Stadium in this picture take on Tuesday. Work had stalled for almost five years before resuming recently.