NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 29 – Gor Mahia might be forced to settle for the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos to host Morocco’s RS Berkane in the first leg of their CAF Confederations Cup quarter final on April 7 after failure to secure the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
The international sporting facility has apparently been booked – and paid for – by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) for a shopping expo from April 3-7 and thus will be unavailable for Gor, despite the facilities’ core business being sports.
“I received a letter from Sports Kenya yesterday (Thursday) saying that we cannot have the facility because of the expo. It beats logic because as far as we know, the core business should be sports. How can an expo be put ahead of us?,” Gor Mahia’s Deputy Secretary general Ronald Ngala told Capital Sport.
Effort to get official communication from Sports Kenya were futile as calls went unanswered, but a source intimated that indeed the expo will go on as planned.
“Gor did not make advance booking of the venue and when an opportunity came, we had to hire out. At the end of the day, we also need to collect revenue,” the source stated.
The same sentiments are shared by Football Kenya Federation Chief Executive Officer Robert Muthomi who said the failure to land Kasarani was down to a booking issue.
“We have already contacted Sports Kenya and they say that KAM has already booked and paid for the venue. What happened is that Gor have been booking per match whereby I think they should have booked in block with anticipation of all their matches,” Muthomi said.
He added; “We will have to look at Machakos because it has hosted some matches before for both the national team and Gor and so this is the option we have. It is approved by CAF,” Muthomi said.
But, Ngala believes regardless, any sporting event should be given preference at the stadium.
“We wrote a letter to them immediately after the draw and the dates were confirmed that we will be using the stadium. For Sports Kenya, I think always, the first client should be the sportsman,” further stated Ngala.
Already, Gor will be without four key players and their coach for the tie and the news that they will not be able to play at the pristine, well manicured lawns at Kasarani and move to the Kenyatta Stadium will further dampen their spirits.
Gor are unbeaten at Kasarani in the Confederations Cup winning against Zamalek (4-2), NA Hussein Dey (2-0) and Petro Atletico (1-0) despite playing with nine men.
Kenyans took to social media on Friday afternoon to vent their frustration at the latest development, coming just a day after it was revealed the wait to have Nyayo National Stadium ready will have to drag on for two more months.
The country is hugely depleted in terms of sporting facilities with very few available for use despite a hearty promise six years ago that the government would build five new stadia.
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