- Mombasa County Football fans fear to lose the famous Tononoka grounds as bulldozers leveling and compressing the surface at the grounds. Currently, the public playing ground has been turned into a full-time market.
On Wednesday Asha Abdi, the acting Chief Officer Trade, Tourism, and Investment at the Mombasa County Government clarified that the facility was being upgraded to make it conducive for the market-goers after the current rains which have been pounding the region made it inhabitable.
“It is true bulldozers and excavators are on the ground to spread Murram and compress the grounds so that the Lorries accessing the facility to deliver food do not get stuck in the mud. But this is a very temporary measure,” Abdi said.
“Immediately after we are done with the coronavirus, we will scrape off that Murram and allow football to continue at the grounds as has been the case,” she added.
According to Abdi, the grounds had to be fixed to avert another disaster owing what she said the facility had become a health hazard as a result of the heavy rains.
Speaking for the hundreds of football players in Mombasa, Ali Mwatsahu dashes all those claims and wants the county government to start planting grass on the ground during this rainy season to make it playable.
“Tononoka is the only remaining playing ground in Mombasa after Railways Club Shimanzi and Mbaraki Police grounds were all grabbed. Where do they expect our youth to play if all the grounds will be put into other use?” posed Mwatsahu.
Despite Mwatsahu’s plead to the county government, Abdi asked the sportspersons to stop reading too much into the move and insisted converting the facility into a market was a temporary measure to decongest Kongowea Market during this pandemic.
Speculations continue to hit the Coast football fans wondering what will happen to Tononoka grounds as the renovation work at the Mombasa Municipal Stadium is yet to be completed after it was closed eight years ago.
Lack of venues has downed the football development in the coastal region for long. In 2016 and last year, Bandari FC paid the price of losing an opportunity to host international matches in Mombasa.