Kenyan Premier League giants Gor Mahia missed out on a glorious opportunity to lock horns with European giants Atletico Madrid in Nairobi this year.
Details have emerged how the reigning Europa League champions instead opted to tour Nigeria where they faced the Super Eagles beating them 3-2.
Oliver Dodd, a representative of La Liga in Kenya, revealed on Tuesday that a venue to host the friendly match could not be found.
“It (the fixture) would maybe have been Atletico Madrid against Gor Mahia. But we failed to find a venue,” said Dodd.
“When representatives from Spain came over to assess Kenya’s preparedness, we toured Kasarani and the venue was still under renovations. The stakeholders couldn’t give guarantees on when the works will finish. That was about the same time when Barcelona played Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa,” he added.
Kenya Premier League’s logistics officer Frank Okoth confirmed the lack of venues describing it as a “shame”.
“We are always keen to offer such opportunities for our players to develop and so it was annoying this match (involving Atletico Madrid ) didn’t take place as Kenyan fans would have been happy.
“We are short of venues for league matches as Meru (Kinoru) stadium has been closed for renovations forever. I am informed Nyayo (stadium) will only be opened for Jamhuri Day celebrations and then closed again,” said Okoth.
Mr Dodd also opened up on the possibility of Kenyan clubs or select teams touring Spain and competing in friendlies against local sides as was the case when a KPL All-Star team played Seville ‘B’ and Cordoba CF in Spain last year.
He also shared a blueprint aimed at transforming Spain’s top flight league as the second most popular in the country, after the Kenyan Premier League.
The blueprint includes an existing partnership with the KPL for quality production of local matches, plans to open up an academy in East Africa, and offering seminars to discourage match-fixing.