Sports / In-Depth
Thursday, 24 Nov 2016 19:27 EATtmatalanga@kenyafreepress.com
Women’s football in the country has been steadfastly growing over the recent years. The Harambee Starlets is a clear indication of this growth in the sport. They qualified for their maiden African Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon) which is a major achievement which should be lauded. The fact that the girls struggled so much and had to go through insurmountable challenges to get to Cameroon Awcon is a strong reason as to why we as a footballing nation need to go back to the drawing board.
The ladies really gave it their all despite losing their first match in the group phase to Ghana by three goals to nothing. They had set a target of making it to the semi-finals, which judging by their recent performances in friendlies and competitive matches was a good decision. They gave the nation hope in women’s football and it is that hope and a never give up attitude that saw them score a maiden goal in their tie against Mali despite losing it 3-1. Despite being eliminated from the showpiece due to their second successive loss and with a match still to play against current holders Nigeria, the Starlets still harbor hopes of upsetting the champions.
The Starlets’ performances at the continental showpiece was a huge step towards promoting, nurturing and exploiting the talents our girls whether upcoming or already established. The Football Kenya Federation now has the mandate of figuring the areas the girls together with their tactical and technical benches staff need to work upon. They also have to try and learn from the basic mistakes which the team exhibited during this tournament. These moves will help our Starlets to grow in confidence, as well as gather experience should they ever take part international tourneys in the future. Sponsorships as well as talent scouting for our national side should be a key priority on the federation’s agenda as our girls would surely get avenues to express and showcase their talents. This together with well established structures such as the women’s premier league will broaden the range of opportunities our girls can benefit from.
The federation should also put in place awards to honor and recognize women’s efforts towards the growth of women’s football in the country. Just like the men are always recognized for their spectacular contributions to the game, women need to be celebrated for their achievements and contribution to the game. FKF together with al football stakeholders should focus on developing the female game with as much passion they have when it comes to the men’s game.
The Starlets now need to focus on what’s next and prepare for it avidly. Despite the setback at the Awcon they have got the potential to keep making progress in the standard of women’s football. With an optimistic attitude and actions to go with it, Women’ football will surely surpass its current standards.
Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.