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Dandora Stadium, a beacon of hope in Eastlands



Like an oasis in the desert, a structure that many equate to a beacon of hope is slowly taking shape in the heart of Dandora – a community that has in the past been infamous for social vices such as crime, rape and drugs.

The new Dandora Stadium stands exactly where the dusty Dandora ground has been for years, but the facelift that the County Government of Nairobi has undertaken since last year through the ‘Sports Mashinani’ initiative guarantees an improved status of the playing facility.

Hashim Kamau, the Nairobi County Sports Board chairman says  once completed in August,  the stadium will boast of an artificial turf, dressing rooms, referee rooms, floodlights, gym, shops and a police post that will be used by police officers who will be manning and maintaining security in and around the stadium.

“This facility will not only be for nurturing talents but will also be giving the youth a reason to abandon vices such as crime,” said Kamau, adding that the county government will be willing to open the facility 24 hours a day once complete.

Former Harambee Stars goalkeeper Arnold Origi, former Harambee Stars defenderPascal Ochieng, midfielder Johanna Omollo – who plays for Cercle Brugge in Belgium and Posta Rangers’ Jerry Santos are some of the many football players who had their talents sharpened at the Dandora ground in its past years.

The undergoing renovations at the stadium gives hope that the many talents at the grassrots and around the neighborhood, will now have a better chance of making it as well – given the enhanced platform that will come with the improved standards of the stadium, a view also shared by Raphael Munjal, the local community chairman.

“We have in the past been known for all the wrong reasons but with a stadium of this calibre in our community, we are sure to benefit not only in combating crime but also in giving the youth the opportunity to showcase their aptitudes and make a living out of their talents.”

Maurice Maina is one of the young talented men in Dandora who years ago opted to give up on football and join the notorious gangs despite having previously travelled to three European countries – Belgium, Netherlands and Norway – all courtesy of his talent.

Maina’s involvement in crime led him to being one of the most wanted criminals in Nairobi but with the intervention of local community leaders, he has reformed his ways. “I realized that I was wasting my talent and now I want to go back to football because I realized crime does not pay,” stated Maina who currently works at the stadium as a handyman while waiting to fully get back on football once the stadium is over.

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