WPL: The neglect and the tribulations of women football
By Alumirah Alexander | Tue 11 Jul, 2017 17:25
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At times I ask myself if indeed the Kenyan girl is at all respected when it comes to matters football. To start with, the women league is as competitive as one would imagine. The amount of talent, skill and entertainment is one to crave for. 

If one wants to see the female versions of Neymar, Iniesta, Alves, Carrick, Walcott among others in the Kenyan women football scene, have a look at Mary Kinuthia, Maureen Ater, Euphresia Afwayi , Florence Adhiambo , Corazon Aquino among others. The Mbappes and Lacazzettes are already unearthing in the Mwanahalimas and Shilwatsos fresh from school. 

The fact that Kenya has no girls plying their trades in top leagues but managed to rub shoulders with the high and mighty in the 2016 AWCON is testament enough that Kenya has lots to offer in women soccer.  
Gender rule
But where does it get rainy? To start with,  someone needs to do a little bit more in terms of sponsorship.  It beats logic that the country has a third gender rule in its constitution but this is not reflective in sports especially football. With sponsorship deals geared towards the KPL and NSL,  all energies are geared towards the 2022 World Cup in Russia.  But hold it there first, don't our girls deserve to play in the World Cup too? Who said that we cannot have a German-esque plan that has seen both their men and women soccer teams rule the world in almost all categories. We have a German director who has the best knowledge from his homeland and how I wish we saw it happen here.

It hurts a lot that walkovers dominate the WPL because of lack of sponsorship. This squarely lies on the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) who should apportion a fraction of the sponsorship they receive for developing women's football. I doubt if a sponsor watched some teams such as Makolanders, Spedag,  Wadadia,  Thika and Vihiga, they would back off from giving something little. The FKF must put faith in Women as it does in the men and at least see to it that a broadcaster is in place to air just one WPL match every two weeks or even a month and slowly,  the WPL will become a brand. 
The seriousness must go down to the venues too. Rule number one in football clearly talks about the field of play. There are pitches that are not safe at all for our girls. And the saddest part is that we believe in such dilapidated pitches is where stars are born. If so, why don't we host KPL matches and NSL matches at the same venues too?  The reason is simple, your guess is as good as mine. 
Unlike in the KPL, in the WPL we never hear of the Coach of the Month or Player of the Month awards and this makes our girls feel like lesser players while at the same time WPL winners get absolutely nothing for winning the championship. The finalists last year never got any award. I am well aware in KPL there was. Nobody should convince anyone that the WPL standards are low.  We just lack goodwill and we are chauvinistic. 
National team selection
The national team selection is another grey area; no one really understands how it is done. We have seen the men's national team head coach Stanley Okumbi tour Sudi, Mbaraki, Kisumu among other areas to watch matches.  It doesn't happen in the WPL. 

Already the national team has played a match and no one has watched a single match in Zone B.  How sure are we that our selection is fair? It's been a notion that Zone B only has two teams,  Vihiga and Oserian. Has any one watched the pacy and technically gifted twins from Wadadia?  How about Emmaline from Palos? Ruth from Falcons as well as keeper Annedy of Falcons?  Has anyone witnessed what Vihigas Afwayi does as a wingback?  

We must get serious with WPL! The Rocky fields are a danger to our women.
Alumirah Alexander
He is the Vihiga Queens coach and a Women football enthusiast... He also an employee at the Vihiga County offices in the Sports section.
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