Mombasa County government is planning to construct the first beach soccer stadium in East and Central Africa at the Pirates Beach.
The 5,000-capacity Stadium will be built to Class ‘B’ standards of Olympic Stadium, according to chief sports officer, Rajab Babu.
Sports executive Munyoki Kyalo said the stadium is part of Governor Hassan Joho’s plans to promote youth, sports and tourism in the county.
In Africa, only Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt have beach soccer stadia.
Babu said: “Beach soccer stadia are not that hard to construct. They just need a fans sitting area and other aspects which are not hard to do.”
He spoke at the Mombasa Governor’s office where, Sports Tourism Limited launched the inaugural Aviation and Tourism football Challenge World Series set for October 31 to November 3 in Mombasa.
Kenya’s national beach soccer team, also known as Harambee Sand Stars, pulled out of the qualifiers for the 2018 Africa Cup of Nations beach soccer in September due to financial constraints.
The tournament will be held from December 9-14 in Egypt.
On Wednesday, the Harambee Sand Stars woke up to the disheartening news that one of their players, Dennis Lewa, was among the casualties of the ill-fated Homeboyz bus that crashed at Fort Tenan in Kericho county, leaving 57 other passengers dead.
Lewa, popularly known as Yori Yori is a former captain of Kenya Premier League side Thika United and was on his way to Kakamega to seal a move to another Premier League side, Kakamega Homeboyz.
On Friday, Babu said the county is still working on the cost of building the beach soccer stadium at Pirates public beach, also known as Kenyatta Public Beach.
“When all is set we will announce full and proper detail,” said Babu.
At the same time, Kyalo and Babu announced they have issued a two-week extension for the advertisement of the design and construction of the Mombasa County Stadium.
“The stadium is in dilapidated state and weeds have grown to waist-length after years of being neglected,” said Kyalo.
The county has set aside Sh1.2 billion to upgrade 15,000-seater ground. “After we award the tender, it will take 14 months to complete the redesign and construction,” said Babu.
By BRIAN OTIENO