OGONYO: The CECAFA pain and lessons for future
By Ogonyo Sarah | Wed 12 Jul, 2017 09:26
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Before I get any further and probably pour out my heart on this subject, the loss of CECAFA tittle to our beloved sisters across the border is still very fresh in my mind! How could they? Speaking of our sisters and by this I mean Tanzania Women national team! Yes them! That final was ours and we somehow let it slip out of our own hands. But what really made them win? I will not focus on why we lost at this point.

In the entire region of East Africa I am convinced that Kenya has been the best in terms of everything, football inclusive. Considered the East African giants for all the good reasons I suppose, we are endowed with talents that some of our neighbors would just wish for. More often than not this is not the case. But why? Could it be that we haven’t taken seriously what we have or is it that we don’t even realize that we are the best and perhaps we still need a reminder on this?

Ethiopian case

A closer look at the women football structures of our neighbors is a clear sign of what we should have done before they even thought of having women soccer in their calendars. The secret to being a winner is realizing your potential and making the most out of it before everyone else makes it a norm.  Once it becomes obvious and everybody’s cup of tea you realize its longer interesting. Let’s take Ethiopia for instance, a proper league is in place plus support for the women. It’s no wonder every time someone mentions Ethiopia we get the chills in our spines because we are certain that they are good, very organized and have the support they need to make everyone freak out!

Tanzania Women national team, like I said earlier, stole the show when they beat us at that 2016 CECAFA final. I still curse Mwanahamisi for breaking our hearts but that’s football and they won fair and square! Tanzania has a very strong and well organized women’s league and I must say am impressed. What about Uganda…banange! We may have taken them for thorough training sessions twice in a row but am pretty sure they are getting better by the day.

The best 

Kenya!!...It’s always a pleasure watching our ladies play, it’s a beauty to behold! For a moment you would imagine these ladies have all the necessary support they need to do all these. The lightning speed at which Esse Akida moves with is breathtaking and have you seen the shots from our lethal left footed Mary Kinuthia? You will definitely take me for granted if I say Corazon Aquino will make you see stars and probably imagine yourself in the a merry go round! You think going through our defence is an easy thing, you should probably ask Irene Ogutu about that and you guessed right! It’s not easy! I understand some teams may have had luck scoring against us but I believe we have the best custodians.

I could go mentioning every name in the women football arena, but what’s my point? Do we ever wonder how these players get to these admirable levels? Suppose more could be done to help sharpen that which they have already achieved, could we be better off? Look at Women Premier League, we are just there and hoping that perhaps our manna is still in the heaven’s kitchen just waiting for the appointed time. We have talent that needs support to help develop, this is the only way to have a sustainable pool for national team requirement.

Collective responsibility 

The responsibility of developing women soccer in Kenya unfortunately cannot be burdened on one body. It’s a collective responsibility which we all must embrace. When our teams achieve we are all happy. That reminds me of April 12th 2016 when our ladies qualified for AWCON, everyone was happy and you wonder why we seem to be oblivious of the struggles of our game. It is our responsibility as a country to help develop women soccer and there is no reason why we should play the second fiddle to our male counterparts at whatever level. 

The greater responsibility however lies with you, women soccer players. If we want to see more of Doreen Nabwires out there we must work together to see that come to fruition!

Ogonyo Sarah
Presently the team manager for Spedag Ladies FC based in Mombasa, I have a strong love and longing for Women Soccer. Having played in the WPL before, my greatest joy is to see women soccer grow and our ladies reap from their sweat.
Currently working with Spedag Interfreight and looks forward to making women soccer better.
Twitter: @ogonyo
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