Departing Gor Mahia coach criticises Kenya’s ‘flawed’ approach to stadia construction

Departing Gor Mahia coach criticises Kenya’s ‘flawed’ approach to stadia construction

Joel Omotto 15:00 - 22.05.2024

Outgoing Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry has hit out at Kenya’s strategy when it comes to stadia construction as he feels the approached taken so far is wrong.

Outgoing Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry has hit out at the government’s strategy when it comes to the construction of stadiums in the country.

Kenya is currently constructing a new 60,000 stadium, christened the Talanta Sports City, in Nairobi’s Jamhuri, while Nyayo and Kasarani are under renovation ahead of the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.

Several county governments have also started massive stadia construction projects, most of which have stalled due to lack of finances, at a time when Harambee Stars are set to play their home matches in Malawi next month due to unavailability of a CAF or FIFA-approved facility in the country.

McKinstry is of the opinion that the whole process is flawed as the country would have rather utilised the resources on smaller but quality stadiums around the country which will not only go a long way in nurturing talent but also provide better playing surfaces for teams.

“We need to become more realistic in our expectations. I look around Kenya and I see a lot of huge football stadiums being built, 20,000, 30,000-seater stadiums, my question is do we need them all?” posed McKinstry.

“Building a 30,000 or 60,000-seater stadium in a city that already has two stadiums costs a lot of money. Could you not take the same project and build ten 8,000-seater stadiums all around Kenya so that the impact of that finance is felt in every region of the country.

“Then we start seeing youth academies and footballers playing and developing on good pitches and good environments and teams like Nzoia, Vihiga, Bandari playing in these wonderfully constructed 8,000-seater stadiums.

“Yes, we could still have the Kasarani, Nyayo or Mambo Leo in Kisumu but not every community needs a 20,000, 30,000-seater stadium. An 8,000 or 6,000-seater stadium is much fit for purpose and I would argue with anyone that the legacy that would be left by 10 such stadiums around the country is much greater than the legacy being left by one 60,000-seater stadium.”

Stadia remains one of the country’s challenges with a lot of stalled projects dotting the nation while Machakos and Dandora stadiums have hosted a lot of matches in recent months.

Kenya is also in a race against time to have a facility capable of hosting the 2027 AFCON, which will be hosted jointly with Uganda and Tanzania, with stadia the biggest impediment at the moment.

McKinstry was speaking while bidding farewell to Gor Mahia, who he has handled for the last two seasons, winning the FKF Premier League title back-to-back, and he has now been confirmed as the new coach of the Gambia national team.

Follow us on X (Twitter) for more updates.