Women’s football is flourishing on the pitch thanks to relentless efforts made by Nick Mwendwa’s administration to promote the game locally, Thika Queens coach Richard Kanyi has said.
Kanyi, a former national team coach commended the concerted effort of Football Kenya Feferation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa and everyone else involved in supporting women’s football in the country.
“Despite the challenges, we have seen tremendous growth of the women football in Kenya in the past four years, thanks to the efforts of the current FKF President and women football stakeholders,” said coach Kanyi.
True to Kanyi’s observation, competitions involving women in Kenya have been growing in popularity and status with increasing participation, professionalisation and media attention in recent years.
In 2016, Mwendwa and his team re-introduced the FKF Women Premier League (KWPL) and Division One League, a well calculated move that pumped some vigor into the performance of the national team, Harambee Starlets, as witnessed in their subsequent matches.
The pinnacle of the team’s success was attained in September, 2019 when the Starlets climbed 10 places to 133rd in the Fifa women’s rankings after registering a string of impressive results in their assignments.
Prior to the ranking, Kenya had played nine matches, accumulating six wins, two draws and one lose. They rose up to the occasion in the third round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifiers, holding a highly-rated Ghanaian side 0-0 away and defeating them 1-0 in their return tie in Nairobi before they drew 2-2 against Zambia in Nairobi only to bow out gracefully after going down 1-0 in Lusaka in the fourth round.
Starlets outing to Tanzania during the 2019 CECAFA Women Championships surpassed expectation after they clinched the trophy to forge a clear path of success for future generations.
In Dar es Salaam, they stamped their authority as a superpower in the region with convincing results against Ethiopia whom they beat 2-0 before giving Djibouti a 12-0 hiding. Their win 3-0 win over bitter rivals Uganda in the final Group “B” match was the icing on the cake.
The Starlets skinned Burundi 5-0 in semi-final before winning the coveted regional event for the first time ever by dethroning hosts Tanzania with a resounding 2-0 win in the final.