President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the Jamhuri Sports Complex on Friday, a facility of international standards constructed by the National Government at a cost of Sh609 million in Nairobi.
The 19-hectare complex, which is one of the President’s legacy projects, comprises three football pitches, one rugby pitch, running track, hockey pitch, basketball pitch, handball pitch, children’s playing area, ablution blocks, police houses and a police post, changing rooms, picnic site, a clubhouse, food courts and car park.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Uhuru urged the youth to use the sports facilities for training and developing their talents.
The Head of State expressed satisfaction that the once dusty field has now been transformed into a facility of international repute, saying the Government repossessed the land from grabbers.
"For over the 50 years that I have used Ngong Road, I used to see young people playing in a dusty field. Every time I inquired whose land it was, I used to be told it was private property, yet deep within my heart I knew it was public land," Uhuru said.
“The challenge for those who wanted to grab it was that you elected me as President and I decided to work on the issue. This is a pitch for the youth to train and sharpen their sporting skills.”
Uhuru also commended the national rugby teams for offering to mentor upcoming sportsmen and women from the informal settlements surrounding the new sports complex.
“I thank the national rugby teams for flying the Kenyan flag high in international matches and also for assuring me that they will be coming here to train the local youths keen on developing their sporting talents, especially rugby,” he said.
Uhuru also encouraged elderly Kenyans to be using the sports complex to keep fit and improve their health, as the facility is available for free.
“This field is 100 per cent free. Teams wishing to utilize the modern sports facility will only be required to give notice for planning purposes to avoid crowding of events,” the President said.
The Head of state praised the Ministry of Sports and the contractor under the leadership of Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed for delivering the project on time and to the required standards.
Amina thanked the President for his visionary leadership, which has seen the country witnessed tremendous transformation through implementing landmark projects like the sports complex.
"This was your vision and all that we did was to try and realise that vision. It was really great leadership for you to come up with this vision. You were there all the time to make sure that this project did not fall off track. For that, we are truly grateful," Amina said.
Other speakers at the colourful event included Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu and Kibra Member of Parliament Imran Okoth who thanked the President for his commitment to creating opportunities for the Kenyan youth.
Kananu affirmed that the Dandora stadium will be complete by the end of June this year as the hiccup that was derailing the process has been resolved.
“I want to assure you that the Dandora stadium is on course and the stalemate that was there has been resolved. By the end of June, we will have Dandora up and running,” Kananu said.
On his part, the Kibra MP said the ultra-modern sports facility will go a long way in improving sports amongst the local youth.
“I want to thank His Excellency the President for this sports complex. It will go a long way in nurturing the talents of people in Kibra and the surrounding areas. We have over 20 teams that are in different levels of the leagues,” Okoth said.
The unveiling of the new sports complex was preceded by soccer and rugby matches by veteran Harambee Stars players and the local teams of Ng’ando, Kibra and Dagorreti.
Rugby matches involved the national men’s and women’s teams popularly known as Shujaa and Lioness, respectively.
The president thanked the teams that took part in the opening ceremony and wished them success in their sporting endeavours.