President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged sportsmen and women to continue playing a leading role as ambassadors of unity and peaceful coexistence in the country.
The President particularly commended the sporting fraternity for being a unifying force that brings Kenyans together irrespective of ethnic, religious or political affiliation.
“Just as we unite whenever our sporting stars are representing us abroad, cheering them with one voice as one people; let us in this season and in every season remain a united Kenya where each person is striving for the glory and greatness of our beloved nation, Kenya,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State spoke on Wednesday when he commissioned the ultra-modern Ulinzi Sports Complex at Langata Garrison in Nairobi County.
The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) sporting complex has a 7,500-seat stadium, an indoor arena, a fully-equipped gymnasium, swimming pool, an 8-lane athletics track, basketball, badminton and tennis courts, two training grounds, a hockey and a rugby pitch.
President Kenyatta presided over the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the sports complex in October 2020.
The President said he was satisfied that Kenyans across the country are reaping the dividends of his administration’s investment in the development of world-class infrastructure.
“From iconic roads, to new ports and railways, to floating bridges, undersea cables, expressway, to hospitals and schools, and to stadia; the face of our nation has immeasurably changed for the better,” the President said.
He expressed optimism that the complex will boost the national sporting prowess across an array of disciplines and open up a new world of opportunities for sportsmen and women.
“I have no doubt that KDF in particular, will greatly benefit from the wide range of facilities now at their disposal. I am also confident that this facility will also provide training and exercising opportunities for a wide range of Kenyans,” President Kenyatta said.
The President asked KDF to establish a robust management system to ensure that the sports complex maintains the highest international standards so as to serve as a benchmark against which the country’s sporting facilities are measured.
To strengthen the complex further, President Kenyatta said KDF should strive to construct a sports Village that will provide residential accommodation facilities for sportsmen and women.
“Furthermore, the proximity of this complex to the KDF Wellness Centre and to the Uhuru Garden National Monument provides opportunities for partnerships that will create value addition and new revenue streams,” President Kenyatta said.
The President, who had earlier watched exhibition games at the complex including races and a football match, saluted the country’s sporting heroes across all disciplines for their patriotism and dedication.
He said the sports fraternity has inspired the youth to embrace the ideals of discipline, focus and hard work.
“I wish all our sporting stars every success as they continue to represent Kenya across the globe,” President Kenyatta said.
Speaking at the function, Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa challenged county governments to emulate the military in the timely delivery projects within budget.
He commended President Kenyatta for exemplary leadership that has expanded and modernized KDF, noting that the new Ulinzi Sports Complex will play a crucial role in promoting sports within the military.
“Having such a facility done in a record 16 months is something that is truly commendable. I know that under your leadership we have done similar stadia in Kisumu in less than a year, in Kirinyaga in less than a year.
“I want to urge the counties to perhaps come and benchmark with this Ulinzi complex and the leadership of KDF on how to get things done in such a record time,” said CS Wamalwa.
Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi thanked the President for the invaluable support that facilitated the speedy construction of the ultra-modern stadium.
Gen. Kibochi pointed out that the new facility will enable KDF to realize its dream of solidifying the military’s sporting prowess regionally and internationally.
“The sports complex will play a pivotal role in re-awakening the sporting spirit of the KDF. We are therefore privileged to have the opportunity to own this ultra-modern stadium,” he said.
Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed (Sports) and Monica Juma (Energy), former Chiefs of Defence Forces Generals (Rtd) Samson Mwathethe and Julius Karangi, service commanders and other members of the KDF and their families as well as other security services attended the event.