Former Harambee Stars defender's plea to government as he bemoans Kenya's lack of FIFA-approved stadia

Former Harambee Stars defender's plea to government as he bemoans Kenya's lack of FIFA-approved stadia

Pulse Sports • 15:00 - 04.06.2024

Former Harambee Stars defender makes future plea to government as Kenyan fans are denied opportunity to watch Burundi & Ivory Coast World Cup qualifiers at home.

Former Harambee Stars defender James Situma has expressed disappointment over the Kenyan government's inability to prepare at least one FIFA-accredited stadium in time for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Due to ongoing renovations at both Nyayo and Kasarani stadia, Kenya will host its matches against Burundi and Ivory Coast on June 7 and 11 at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Situma, who captained the national team in regional tournaments during his playing years, believes that while playing away from home has its advantages, the government should have ensured that at least one stadium was ready for these crucial matches. 

"We appreciate the efforts by the government to refurbish our facilities to meet the set requirements. However, we could have had at least one ready for these matches. 

“The fans deserve to see and support the team in action. I hope we will be infrastructure-ready in the next international break," urged the current KEFWA President to Sports Boom.

Despite his criticism, Situma acknowledges the potential benefits of playing away from home. He points to Kenya's recent success in high-profile friendly matches against top opponents such as Qatar and Russia as evidence that the team can perform well under such circumstances. 

Last year, the Harambee Stars defeated Qatar 2-1 in Doha and held Russia to a 2-2 draw in Turkey. Additionally, Kenya had a strong showing in Malawi during the March FIFA international week, beating the host nation 4-0 and defeating Zimbabwe 3-1 to win the Four Nations tournament.

"Statistics show that we have been doing well when playing away in recent times. The team returns to Malawi, a destination they know very well. The team will not be under much pressure as compared to when playing at home," Situma noted.

Situma is optimistic that the Harambee Stars will perform well in the qualifiers, echoing sentiments shared by fellow ex-international Allan Wanga.

 "You can’t write off a team before a game or a tournament. It is possible to win both matches and take control of the group. We also have a good chance to top the group," said the former Mathare United defender.

While the relocation of the matches to Malawi might relieve some pressure off the players, Situma emphasizes that the government must expedite the renovation works at Nyayo and Kasarani to ensure that Kenya is prepared for future international assignments. 

His comments highlight the broader issue of infrastructure readiness in Kenyan sports and the need for timely and effective government action to support the national team.

As the Harambee Stars prepare for their upcoming qualifiers, the support and insights of former players like Situma underline the importance of both strategic planning on the field and adequate infrastructural support off it. 

With proper organization and continued efforts to improve facilities, Kenya hopes to achieve positive results in their quest for World Cup qualification.

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