Harambee Starlets pose for a group photo before the match against Swaziland. The women's game needs more.
KIMANI: More attention to the ladies, please
By Amos Kimani | Wed 20 Sep, 2017 09:00
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Exactly 2 years today, we had a meeting with the current federation senior officials during their campaign for office at Panafric Hotel in Nairobi. Among things that we discussed are us follows. There would be formation of women football association, this would be made possible by the federation in their first two months in office. Secondly, the league would never be played without sponsorship. The Federation after being elected, would make it possible for equal voting rights to women premier league clubs, by then the current official were pushing to have 4 of our clubs vote for FKF presidency elections.

This was to happen immediately the first AGM after assuming office was held. We were also promised a functional women football committee that would include those who have sacrificed their lives for the love of women football. There were other vital things that we discussed that I do not want to write here but I had and still have them recorded on my notebook.

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Harambee Stars Contrast

Yes I must give credit where it is due, we can all see a change in the way national team are handled, kits and also equal treatment to male counterparts, kudos to the federation. Also notable is that the federation is currently supporting our league by paying for fields as well as match officials, thumbs up.  But let's recall something that we all remember, after election of the current federation that we love, FKF appointed Coach Stanley Okumbi as the senior national team coach, it received a lot of criticism. Things turned sour when we fell to Guinea Bissau. Then there is this historic moment that we shall never forget in our lifetime, the day that Harambee Starlets qualified for AWCON. Yes that one goal. I could see photos of our beloved president lifted to the air by joyful players and football lovers, this resulted to starlets earning a courtesy call to state house and to many media houses.The starlets were voted women team of the year in the country.

When news came that the Nyamweya regime was over, it brought hope including players that had given up in football coming back, we had assured players all over that our day was coming and you could see the signs of hope and freedom in their eyes. Yes everyone was now shifting focus to our "league" whatever it means. I am not complaining and someone may argue that the cost is reduced but let me ask, how does it help when for example a field is hired for Ksh 8000, 4 match officials are paid maybe 4000 each this costs Ksh 24000 all for a team to give a walkover because they can't afford Ksh 15,000 or Ksh 30,000 to honor the fixtures?

Yes teams are being relegated for failing to honor 3 matches as it is indicated in the FIFA rules but now let's ask ourselves, where do the teams go after relegation? Where is Oserian men's team? Why do we have to kill the club? Women premier league in Kenya needs better attention otherwise we have tried to knock every office seeking help, our clubs have turned us into beggars, resulting to losing friends, every weekend when I call my friends, most of them do not pick my calls assuming that a will be asking for support to take the team to a match. Do you know that many club officials hosts these girls in their homes just to keep the team together?

Yes let's congratulate our girls who are proving to Africa and the whole world that football made in Kenya is great, every time they are called for national duty, they have been performing well, mind you we don't have any foreign based player, this has left most people eager to know what's the secret behind this performance, proving to perform even better than our male counterparts.

Why the League is Important

Not every female player will fit in the national team, so how do we encourage that player to become professional footballer? The simple answer is the League, League and League. At times we tend to be so oblivious of the very problem that we face in reality in the face of these good performances. It's actually a wonder that both junior and senior Harambee Starlets have no foreign based players and we still manage to put up beautiful encounters against the so called big teams. A lot of attention has always been given to the Men's team and I will not get tired of saying this. Look at the premier league, every sponsor wants to go there but in spite of all these look at the men's performance internationally. Woeful.

Just recently I saw Kenya drop in the world rankings and the men's team has been playing a series of friendlies. The Women Premier League despite all struggles till does much better at the national level. If you ask me that's the team that should be looked into! Someone will still argue that WPL is not a viable product but I will disagree with this. It's painful for teams to be relegated because of financial constraints when we know we depend on the same teams for national team duties.

GALLERY: Harambee Starlets 1-0 Swaziland #CosafaW2017

Plea

We have very many women players that need to the absorbed in these teams facing relegation and the reduction in the number of teams is a unfair to the players. I am very proud and I know these good performances are not in vain. What hope do we give those clubs at regional leagues and division one league, do you know that most of those clubs don't even want to get promotion, they of course know the struggles at the top tier league. I again want to state that I am not against anyone or federation, but I just had to share this because I know that our lives begin to end the day we assume and become silent on things that matter.

Amos Kimani
Coach Soccer Queens (Women Premier League )
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