•Those who were at the former stadium a year ago will hardly believe they are in the same place should they venture at the site now
•Changing rooms, a fully fitted gym, referee quarters, stadium managers office and public toilets for spectators will be put in place
Amidst the din of the daily routines common in Dandora estate in Embakasi North Constituency— be it matatus honking for passengers or jua kali artisans panel beating their products into shape or hawkers letting all and sundry know the wares they are selling, a magnificent structure is quietly coming up at the place where the dusty stony dilapidated Dandora Stadium used to be.
Welcome to the New Dandora Stadium that if all goes according to plan will be open for business at the end of June courtesy of Nairobi County Government. “From experience, the only things that could prevent us from ending this project on time is maybe monetary issues or sudden weather change which so far do not seem to be a hindrance,” offered Justus Musembi, the supervising engineer from the contractors Scanjet Construction Company Limited.
The progress so far has been immense. Those who were at the former stadium a year ago will hardly believe they are in the same place should they venture at the site now. Strong steel structures to hold the terraces on either side of the Fifa standard pitch (100mx64m at the chalk-line) are already standing strongly, bolstered by bolts and magic gum, that turns into concrete-like solid, minutes after being gunned to fill the gaps left by the bolts at the surface to give it the strength necessary to endure any tension.
“These structures were put in place by a 50-tonne crane and they can withhold any pressure due to the way we have installed them.
“Musembi explained that unlike other county facilities that have either metallic or concrete slabs for seats, the Dandora Stadium will have seats in all their stands with a VIP terrace located in the middle of the furthest stand. Changing rooms, a fully fitted gym, referee quarters, stadium managers office and public toilets for spectators will be put in place.
“This facility will be like no other in the country where artificial turfs have been put up. The drainage is of impeccable standards with 0.8 percent inch slopes in either direction to ensure there will be no flooding on the turf. Additionally, shock pads will be placed before the turf is laid to ensure it does not wear out quickly and the users are comfortable,” revealed Musembi.
He said long nets will be placed high above the perimeter walls behind the goal post to ensure balls are no lost. Already powerful floodlights in all the four corners of the pitch have been installed and once completed, the facility will be open for twenty four hours. While the furthest end of the pitch just in front of the famed Casablanca building has been concrete fenced as well as behind both posts, the perimeter at the main gate will be ring fenced by stalls that will be set aside for area businessmen.
“The residents needed the road adjacent to the stadium for ease of movement. So putting up a wall was out of question. Instead, the shops and steelworks will act as the boundary wall,” Musembi disclosed.
Nairobi City Governor Mike Sonko had earlier promised that the modern stadium will be unveiled by July to pave way for a major football tournament for all the 17 Sub-Counties in Nairobi. Sonko has said the construction of the Dandora Stadium is part of his election promises to Nairobi residents. “Construction of the Dandora Stadium is part of my promises to Nairobians during the campaigns. My administration will also construct four other sports facilities in Kihumbuini, Woodley, Jacaranda and Kariokor,” said the Governor.
Nairobi City County, assistant director of sports John Barasa has said the Dandora Stadium once unveiled will be able to host international matches including World Cup and Africa Cup qualifier matches.
“The new Dandora Stadium together with the other four stadia to be constructed by Sonko’s administration will radically change the sports landscape in Nairobi and the country at large. There is no other county that has managed to construct five modern facilities in the last 6 years,” stated Barasa.
While everybody is unanimous that this project will be beneficial to the surrounding community, former Harambee Stars and Gor Mahia defender Solomon Nasio urges caution in the midst of the excitement.
“The positives of this project are many. We already see our brothers and sisters are employed in the construction of the stadium. Once complete, however, there must be proper organisation in the management of the facility to ensure the whole community and particularly former and current footballers benefit,” said Nasio who horned his skills in the dusty former pitch in the 90’s.
His sentiments were echoed by former Nairobi FKF secretary general, Stephen Ragos who was part of the tens of youth busy at work to ensure the grounds open in time for the next football season that kicks off in August. Director Communications Governor’s office Elkana Jacob added that his boss (governor Mike sonko does not like laziness).
He added that Nairobi is in Governor Sonko’s heart and he would like to see developments. “What I can assure you is that governor does not tolerate laziness. Nairobi is in his heart and that is why a lot of services delivery is happening on the ground. He is always for quality work and that is what is coming up at Dandora, ”he said