Vihiga Queens have won the 2022/2023 Kenya Women’s Premier League (KWPL) title, their fourth after similar exploits in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
They beat Gaspo Women 2-1 in the last match of the season at the Police Sacco Stadium on Saturday to finish top of the 12-team standings with 55 points as Gaspo followed with 49 points. The victors thus won a ticket to the 2024 Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) Women’s Champions League.
Women’s football has come of age by virtue of attracting attention and excitement with 12 teams competing in the KWPL. However, Vihiga’s reward of a meagre Sh1 million with the rest getting nothing is, to say the least, disappointing and disheartening, considering the massive resources teams put into preparations.
Women’s football teams deserve better remuneration, treatment and support if Harambee Starlets is to stand a chance of winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations or participating at the World Cup before Harambee Stars.
Kenya having more female professional footballers plying their trade outside the country than their male folks goes without saying. Close to 30 players play in Tanzania with tens of others in Europe. They include Esse Akida, Enez Mango, Mwanahalima Dogo. Majoline Nekesa, Vivian Nasala, Phoebe Oketch and Lilian Awuor in top European clubs.
Harambee Starlets were on the verge of qualifying for the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations only to fail to play Uganda in February last year due to Caf and Fifa bans after the government dissolved Football Kenya Federation (FKF) in November 2021 due to corruption. Uganda got a direct ticket.
Vihiga Queens also won the 2021 Cecafa Club championship to qualify for the CAF Women’s Champions League, where they performed well despite losing at the group stage. This is a clear manifestation that, if well supported, women’s football is bound to scale major heights. The government and FKF ought to view women’s football from a different perspective.