“Women in this industry have been on a painful journey and many times that journey has ended prematurely.
“I urge companies, the media and the government officials to make deliberate measures to uplift and appreciate women and girls who play.”
That good quote is from Football Kenya Federation vice president Doris Petra who was speaking on September 4, 2017 at the Hilton hotel in Nairobi.
It was during the inaugural Women, Sport and Development Symposium organised by Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (ICFG) of the University of Bern (Switzerland) in partnership with Football Kenya Federation, it was fanfare and starry eyed journalists covered it with gullibility that is the bane of our trade these days.
She asked counties to adopt women teams and as Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris was present, we assume she was talking about something akin to ‘adopt a light’.
After the rigmarole was over, we assume the ‘stakeholders’ proceeded to sumptuous lunch and nice drinks. That is what women football has been reduced to in this country. The show was going on but the real women who play football are in conditions that are unacceptable in this century.
Everything about women’s football in Kenya is just fanfare and speeches and lunches and posing for photographs by the women who pretend to bother about the girls.
It is a shameless thing to say the least. let us look at a short chronology of this disaster and inhumanity that FKF has subjected these teams to: in 2010, the Women Premier League started with a huge funding from United Nations Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF).
By 2012, UNICEF pulled out due to rampant corruption mainly concerned with non-travelling after funds were sent. In 2013, all teams were to meet their own costs which they did against enormous costs.
They did the same the following year. In 2015, there was no competition and the league was silent…dead. In 2016 and 2017, there were regional leagues but no funding.
In 2018, there was fanfare again and the media reported that Sh12 million was doled out to be shared by all the 16 teams in the WPL, after the fanfare, then came the sad truth…no money to the clubs.
Regional clubs like the Vihiga Leeds Ladies could not even travel to honour their away matches; the players had not been paid for months on end and without sponsorship - and of course the inept county government - the suffering is just too much to contemplate!
Some team was also sold to a University without even the niceties to inform the players or management of the club. We shall deal with that soon.
In short, there should be no more fanfare and silly shows just to placate the public while everything on the ground remains a nightmare.
All the 16 teams are in dire straits even though Fifa sends money which ought to carter for these teams.
Where does all the money go? Are we having women football just because other countries are having it? Are we really serious about it? Why must we discourage the girls this way?
This topic is not yet closed and we plan to give more details as soon as possible!