Closed for sports, open for televangelists: Kenyans rage over impending crusade at Nyayo Stadium

Closed for sports, open for televangelists: Kenyans rage over impending crusade at Nyayo Stadium

Joel Omotto 10:00 - 22.02.2024

Kenyans have questioned a decision by government to hold a crusade at Nyayo National Stadium just three months after the Sports CS banned all non-sporting events at the facility.

Sports fans in Kenya are up in arms again over an impending religious event set to take place at Nyayo National Stadium this weekend.

American televangelist Benny Hinn is set to hold a ‘Healing the Nation’ crusade at the stadium from February 24-25 at the invitation of the Kenyan government, an event that has attracted religious leaders from across the country.

A spot check at the facility this week reals tents erected at the stadium including on the playing surface at the country’s currently only international standard facility.

The decision comes just three months after Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba banned all non-sporting activities at Nyayo Stadium in a bid to preserve the pitch.

“We believe that we have protected this Nyayo pitch. I have banned all non-sporting activities from these pitches. We have even agreed that the Jamhuri Day celebrations should be hosted elsewhere to protect this pitch so that we can have a good facility for the players,” Namwamba said last November.

Nyayo is currently the only stadium capable of hosting local and international matches in Nairobi with Kasarani closed for renovations as Kenya readies herself for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.

The facility is also among those earmarked as a training venue for the continental tournament and will undergo a facelift this year.

However, it is not the first time the stadium is holding an event other than sports in the recent past despite government’s promise to ensure such does not happen.

In September last year, Sports Kenya came under fire for allowing a two-day crusade, dubbed ‘Holy Ghost Fire Conference’ led by South African-born American evangelist Dr. Rodney Morgan Howard-Browne at the stadium where a huge tent was erected on the pitch.

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