AGAIN, Thika Stadium banned from hosting league matches due to poor conditions.


An aerial view of the Thika Sub-County Stadium courtesy of Aerial Affairs.
Following widespread complains about their dilapidated state and inspection by members of the Stadia Safety and Security Committee (SSSC), the Kenyan Premier League has banned five stadia complex from hosting any of its league matches.

The sports body’s tough verdict axed Thika Municipal Stadium, Ruaraka, Mumias Sports Complex, Camp Toyoyo and Chemelil Sports Complex until the stadia undergo some facelift to the satisfaction of the SSSC.

They advised all those teams that registered the grounds as their home grounds to seek alternative venues. The ban comes at a difficult time when most clubs are kick starting their campaigns in the KPL after the start of the new season.

However, it will not be a big concern for Thika United who were relegated to the National Super League after a poor campaign in the KPL last season. The team had already selected Ruaraka Grounds for their home matches.

The Camp Toyoyo ban will certainly affect a number of teams with Posta Rangers, Kariobangi Sharks, KCB, Mount Kenya United and Mathare United hosting some of their league matches there last season. Chemelil Sugar will also have to seek an alternative home ground after the ban of the Chemelil Sports Complex. 

Kakamega Homeboyz regularly used the Mumias Sports Complex last season alongside Vihiga United. But the upgrade of Bukhungu Stadium may offer the two Western-based clubs an alternative venue in the current campaign that kicked off last weekend.

In 2014, Thika Stadium was banned with the SSSC report saying that its playing surface was in bad shape and the goal posts were not of the recommended size. The facility also lacked changing and washrooms for players and officials and didn't possess enough washrooms for the general public.

The stadium was later cleared to host league matches by KPL matches in 2016 after the rehabilitation and upgrading funded by the then Kiambu County Government through the Department of Youth Affairs, Sports and Communication.


A signpost erected by Kiambu County Government during the period between 2014 and 2016 when they were undertaking the rehabilitation works on the facility.
The following are the SSSC’s findings-:

  1. THIKA SUB-COUNTY STADIUM – Uneven playing surface and faded markings.
Thika Sub-County Stadium was inspected on Tuesday, December 04, 2018. The team was taken round by Ms. Njeri, the Sub-County Sports Officer.

FINDINGS

The facility was found to have recently hosted a musical event that left its surface in a sorry state. It is regretted that despite short-comings cited in previous visits such as the bumpy turf and other areas which promises were given would be attended to, same have so far not been acted upon, even as the league went on throughout the 2018 season.

The following must now be done before any matches are hosted at the ground:

  1. The playing turf that remains extremely bumpy and un-even, to be urgently run over by a 5 to 7 ton roller, the whole length and breadth to try “level” it for the safety of both the players and match officials. (During Thika United FC match against Gor Mahia FC at the ground, it was noted with regret that a Gor Mahia FC player was injured due to the bumpy and un-even surface. An assistant referee was also injured as he run along the touch-line for the same reason.)
  2. The goal-posts to be given a new coat of white paint for visibility.
  3. Several areas of the turf are depressed and can act as a collect a lot of rain water that will not augur well when it rains before or during the match as they will turn into small ponds. Such areas either need to fill up or made level when the ground is run over by a heavy roller as suggested in No.1 above.
RECOMMENDATION
For the sake of safety and security of the players and match officials, the Committee hereby suspends Thika Sub-County Stadium from hosting KPL matches with immediate effect until such time the playing turf will have been appropriately attended to, in the best interest of players and match officials. Any Club [s] that had earmarked the Stadium as their home ground and/or alternative ground are directed to look for an alternative venue. Meanwhile, the Club [s] wishing to use the facility are encouraged to liaise with County Government of Kiambu to press for correction of these defects, which once done, a re-inspection will be carried out at the Club [s] own cost.
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