From its state of neglect just a few years ago, the Moi International Sports Center (MISC) in Nairobi's eastern suburb Kasarani has made a big turn around, local newspaper The Standard reported Monday.
The center was designed and built by a Chinese company, with the Chinese government's aiding funds for Kenya in 1980s. It was the largest and modernist sports complex in eastern Africa then.
After handing over to Kenyan government in 1992, however, it fell into a state of neglect. But in recent years, there are great changes in the sport complex.
According to The Standard, the changes are noticeable on entry where guards manning the gates ask the nature of your business before you are let in. Those who visited the facility a few years back will remember that there never used to be guards at the gates. People could walk in and out as they wished.
As visitors enter, driving or walking into the 60,000-seat stadium, there is the imposing gymnasium on the right and the hotels on the left.
The swimming pool at the 120-room hotel has been renovated and guests can now enjoy the comfort of this three-star hotel.
The irrigation system at the main stadium has been repaired and there are workers to look after the grass. The system has six outlets that sprinkle water evenly covering the whole playing surface of the stadium.
New plastic seats dot the main stadium and fans do not have to worry about their clothes getting dirty anymore. Workers are always at hand to keep them clean.
The VIP suite situated near the main entrance still retains its beautiful trappings. The suite boasts facilities that can only be found in a five-star hotel and is available to anyone who can pay the entry fee which varies with events. Three new suites have been constructed and can be hired out by companies for their functions.
The Sports Stadia Management Board (SSMB), who now runs the sports complex, has also introduced facilities used for corporate conferences and seminars. Also available are billboard sites and photo-shoots. There are also VIP hospitality suites which are available for exclusive corporate use.
Weddings and other social functions can also take place at the complex. With accommodation of international standards, there is a swimming pool, a ballroom which can host 500 guests and three restaurants.
The complex also allows federations, clubs, schools and colleges to use the Olympic-standard facilities for training and competitions.
According to SSMB chief executive Sam Mwai, the turn around is a result of the freehand to run the complex given to the board formed two years ago.
He said in the past money raised from the use of the facility was usually reverted back to the treasury with nothing left for maintenance.
"In the past, the stadia had to hand to the treasury whatever finances had been raised and wait for their quota. This led to the neglect of the facility as there was no money," he explained.
He said the board aims to make Moi International Sports Center the preferred sports and recreational facility in the entire region. To accomplish this, Mwai said, aggressive marketing of the facility is being done and it is yielding fruits.
"On average we get about 3,000 people using our Olympic-standard swimming pool every week," he said.
He said the main stadium is rarely idle and is hired out most of the time to schools, colleges and federations.
Among their future plans is to renovate the main stadium to the required international standards.
"We have already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government and work will start early next year," he explained.
He said floodlights in the main stadium will be replaced with new and modern ones and a new scoreboard will also be installed.
"The gymnasium will be fitted with a new rubber floor, new floodlights and a scoreboard. The 120-room hotel will be renovated to the full standards of a three-star hotel," said Mwai.