The Nairobi City County Government has started a vigorous drive to reclaim and improve sports facilities, inviting businesses to join in and support the development of sports talent.
County leaders promised to give sports “greater respect and a bigger vote from the city’s budget” at a historic stakeholders breakfast on Wednesday.
The city’s Chief Officer for Youth, Talent, and Sports, Oscar Igaida, said that, among other things, a field in the Mwiki region had been recovered for the construction of volleyball, netball, football, and basketball courts in addition to indoor sports facilities.
Despite the fact that work has already begun, Governor Johnson Sakaja is expected to officially break ground for the Mwiki project next week.
Together with other small community fields, the city is opening playgrounds in Umoja One and is looking for business partners to assist in bringing these areas up to playable standards.
“The Jericho playground has also been secured in place of a proposed housing project, and we are currently in the procurement stage,” Igaida, who himself developed as a promising footballer in the Jericho area, said. “While housing is important, grounds for recreation are equally critical.”
The county plans to fence off the Jericho Ground, which also has a football pitch and a tennis court and is next to a basketball court built by the spirits company Hennessy.
“We are also done with the procurement process for the Woodley Stadium, and the Governor will be there next Wednesday for the ground-breaking.
The county is also seeking partners to develop the Kahawa West Sports Complex. Besides infrastructure development, Nairobi City County will also launch tournaments, including the multi-sport Governor’s Talent Extravaganza and Sakaja’s Super Cup knockout football tournament, the latter being sponsored by Governor Sakaja and friends.
“Our long-term goal is to establish talent development centres in every sub-county,” Igaida said at the stakeholders’ breakfast, also attended by Deputy Governor Njoroge Muchiri, with Governor Sakaja unable to make it due to other engagements.
“The Department of Sports was previously not taken seriously, and with the sports programmes that we intend to roll out, you’ll see the seriousness with which the new administration is taking sports,” Igaida added.
Brian Mulama, the sports executive for Nairobi City County, promised corporations that the government would be transparent and accountable in his address to potential partners.
“We are an accountable regime in the management of county affairs. In the last few months, you have seen what we have done in trying to drive forward the city’s development,” he assured.
The breakfast was held in partnership with the Nairobi Liquor Board, whose chairman, Myke Rabar, said the board will open 17 alcohol and drug rehabilitation centres in the city over the next three years.
“One of our underlying principles is to offer safe spaces for youths to get back to a straight line. Part of our mandate is to also invest in sports programmes by coming up with a plan to create forums for stakeholders to create pathways through community projects, not only in sports but also in the arts, dance, ICT, etc,” Rabar said.
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