FIFA Secretary General and Chief of Women’s Football see history made in Kenya
Kenya was the second stop on their tour of Africa
Positive talks were held with CECAFA to further develop the women’s game
Home side Vihiga Queens sealed history CAF Women’s Champions League spot
Driving women’s football forward in the CECAFA region of Africa was top of the agenda for the FIFA Secretary General and FIFA’s Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman during a visit to Nairobi, Kenya. Upon arrival, Kenyan Football Association (KFA) President Nick Mwendwa updated them on the progress of the national women’s team, the Harambee Starlets. Currently, 11 of the players have been recognised by international clubs, and ply their trade overseas. President Mwenda also explained how the Harambee Starlets have positively used their influence and standing with the Kenyan public to encourage take up of vaccination against COVID-19.
The finals of the CECAFA qualifiers for the inaugural CAF Womens Champions League were next on the agenda. Prior to kick off, Samoura and Bareman held talks with Wallace Kaira, President of the Tanzanian Football Association and Head of CECAFA. Encouraging more women to play football and the importance of supporting and nurturing regional teams and leagues were core themes. They then met with Kanizat Ibrahim, CAF Vice President and Chair of its Women’s Football Commission, who was accompanied by the Chair of the CECAFA qualifiers, Korecha Ali Guedi. Ibrahim expressed her desire to see a greater focus on grassroots football for girls throughout the continent, helping to create a player pyramid from youth, to adult football.
The FIFA Secretary General said: “Introducing girls to football at a young age normalises their involvement in the game for their parents and society. With the correct pathways put in place we can not only keep the girls in the football ecosystem, but allow them to benefit from better education, receive information on health and of course, develop team work skills. “ Bareman said: “The potential for women’s football in Africa is boundless. The FIFA Women’s Football Division will work hand-in-hand with CAF and Kanziat, to harness this potential and elevate the women’s game in Africa.” The final match saw Vihiga Queens from Kenya take on Ethiopia’s CBE FC. Following a hard-fought match, the Kenyan side won 2-1, securing their ticket to the CAF Women’s Champions League in Cairo, Egypt. Unexpected heavy rain at the podium did not detract from the celebrations of the teams, including Uganda’s Lady Doves who finished third. The FIFA delegation agreed that this moment of joy encapsulated the positivity and empowerment that women’s football throughout Africa can bring.