The Sikh Union Club Nairobi will be the first club in Kenya to own an Olympic size artificial turf as they are set to launch their new stadium on Monday, July 22, 2019.
The hockey stadium, which is the second full size Olympic size artificial pitch to be installed in Kenya, will be named The Dashmesh Hockey Stadium, after the 10th Guru, Siri Guru Gobin Singh Ji. According to the club, the idea to lay the astro-turf was conceived nearly 10 years ago but due to lack of enough funds to facilitate the project, it has taken time for the project to be a success with funding from well-wishers, friends of Sikh Union Club and former players.
The total cost of the stadium is approximately Ksh. 70 million with a lot of work being done for the stadium to meet the International standard with plenty of civil works involved such as automatic water sprinklers, good drainage, lighting and the surface that the turf has been laid on.
Sikh Union’s rich history
According to Manminder Singh Jandu who is a trustee and former Sikh Union Club chairman, the club boasts of producing among the best hockey players in the world mentioning Avtar Singh Sohal who is a four time Olympian having captained Kenya in the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympics and also captained Kenya in the 1971 Hockey World Cup together with legendary Inderjit Singh Matharu who also captained the Kenya National Hockey men’s team in the 1988 Olympics.
Sikh Union is also looking forward to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for being the club that has produced the highest number of players from a single club to who have represented their country in the Olympics, the club has currently produced over 100 players who have featured for the National team in the Olympics and other major competitions.
The launch of the stadium will be marked by a six-day international tournament for both men and women from Monday, July 22 to Saturday, July 27, 2019 with two teams from India, one team from Twiga Sports Club Tanzania and local teams expected to play in the tournament. The tournament is expected to be an annual event.
Speaking at the press conference held at the Sikh Union club, former Kenyan International Avtar Singh Sohal mentioned the need of a united hockey fraternity for the betterment of the sport in the coming days. “We all need to work together with the Kenya Hockey Union and all stakeholders to develop the sport, we were once the best hockey playing nation in Africa but at the moment we are being beaten in our own game,” said Sohal. “For us to get back to our glory days, we need to invest more on the young talents as a nation and that’s what we have started doing at Sikh Union,” he added.
After the official launch, the pitch will be open to everyone who wishes to use the facility for training or matches at a fee yet to be set by the club.