What you need to know:
- It was amazing to get an opportunity to play in the Bundesliga, one of the biggest, most respected and well organised leagues in the world.
- It was an honour and I managed to win second best player of the league 2009/10 season as well as finish as the club’s top scorer.
- My father used to play football but his career was short-lived after he had a hip injury when still in high school.
- I aspire to grow our game and take it to the next level and see to it that several other Kenyan players turn professional.
Who is Doreen Nabwire?
I am a mother of three sons, one adopted and two biological. I am a professional, goal directed, result-oriented person with a strong sports background. Adaptability, self-motivation, high energy, initiative and focus are key in my life.
Why are you called Dodo?
I am my parents first daughter. I have always been a daddy’s girl. When I was little, my dad always pampered and spoiled me every day he got home from work; he would call me “my daughter, my lovely daughter”. It is from this that he started calling me dodo; funny most of my friends don’t know how this came to be, but they call me Dodo.
You are Kenya’s first and only female professional footballer to ever have played in a European league. How was the feeling?
This was a great achievement and every player’s and athlete's dream. It was amazing to get an opportunity to play in the Bundesliga, one of the biggest, most respected and well organised leagues in the world. It was an honour and I managed to win second best player of the league 2009/10 season as well as finish as the club’s top scorer.
Later, I moved to the Netherlands where I did my UEFA C Coaching License and signed up for FC Zwolle in the Dutch women top division league in 2011 season. Then again, I moved back to Germany at FC Cologne in 2013/2014 season.
Does being a footballer interfere with your family responsibilities?
No. It doesn’t
What made you venture into football?
My father used to play football but his career was short-lived after he had a hip injury when still in high school during secondary school games. This later had a huge effect on him and crippled him to date.
How was the journey to where you are?
It has not been easy. It took a lot of work, effort, discipline and perseverance to achieve what I have achieved so far. It’s not easy being at the top, some will celebrate your achievements and some will curse and wish to see you stumble and fall. But every experience came with lessons, each I take positively, learn and try to improve.
Why football and not any other profession?
As a girl I had a passion for law and aspired to be a lawyer. But I never followed it through, kind of got lost somehow in other developments that cropped up. I later studied 'tours and travel' and combined it with a course in cabin crew at Nairobi Aviation College.
I have worked as a tour consultant at Phoenix Safaris but this was short-lived, since it took much of my time and I could hardly get time to engage in football. And so I quit and decided to completely venture into football.
What are some of the challenges, as a woman, that you facing as a footballer?
I have struggled with this and I hated it whenever I conversed with someone and get a “Oh... I didn't know you could do this, or that”. We need a break, it’s a sport like any other and women footballers are just like any other athletes out there.
Are you nurturing any talent?
I have been working with established community clubs and schools as a guest coach where I offer my expertise in coaching. I am proud to mention that Cynthia Shilwatsond Vivian Nasaka, who have been key players in our National U20 team and feature for Starlets, have passed through my hands.
I run a sports for development organisation through which we use sports as a tool to empower women and girls.
Has any of your child taken after you?
My two sons Curtis (11) and Tionne (9) already play football at Maono Soccer Academy.
What’s your comment on the current status of Kenyan football?
We are in the right direction. It’s evident to see how hard the current administration is striving to restore sanity in Kenyan football. Success can only be achieved if we have structures in place, youth structures for that matter. Currently, FKF has managed to start U13, U15 leagues as well as national sides for the same age group, including U17 for boys. The same is in the pipeline for girls through FIFA support as Kenya was identified for a pilot project in women football development.
Which team are you supporting in the World Cup? And why?
Germany, that’s my second home.
Any leadership position in the field?
I currently work at FKF as a Women Football Development Officer/Competitions Officer.
Do you believe the Kenyan government is doing enough to support female football?
Not really, at national level 'Yes' because they have been supporting part of the national team’s budget. But there’s a lot more they can do. We need support for our leagues, the Women Premier League and the Women Division One League. They lack sponsorship and sometimes it’s hard for teams to honour fixtures.
Given a chance, what is it that you would change in Kenya's football sector?
Focus more on grassroots, improve structures down there and start competitions for children from ages eight, both boys and girls.
The Kenya football has been dogged by cases of sexual harassment. Did you experience this during your days?
This can happen and happens anywhere and across all disciplines and institutions. All we need is to create awareness and learn to speak up when you fall victim to such so that you can get assistance.
Yes, I did experience this at a younger age and I managed to escape without harm because I spoke about it and I got help.
What’s the differences between our local women’s league and that of the Germans?
Germans, too, have a history of discrimination, struggles to get where they are today. They have very good league structures from armature to professional leagues, it has taken them so long to build this but they got great support from the FA and the beauty is that each club has youth structures from U6.
We are just three seasons old, we recently just unified WPL this season and we lack sponsorship but there is potential and plenty of room for growth and development.
Is female football rewarding as compared with male football?
There is potential, but unfortunately no. In as much as it is well organised in Europe, still women footballers must have something else to do on the side to make ends meet because the income is still on the lower side.
I aspire to grow our game and take it to the next level and see to it that several other Kenyan players turn professional.
How do you juggle between family and footballing?
It has never been easy. I am usually travelling but I have a good support system around me. I like to spend time with my sons and often dedicate my free time to them.
What has been the most memorable moments in your career?
My first award on an international stage, I won most valuable player in Norway during the Norway Cup in 2001. My first match in Germany, Werder Bremen vs Hamburger SV, was a derby, huge turnout of fans, who came to watch this new Kenyan player. We managed a draw and I scored the two goals.
What advice can you give to up-and-coming female footballers?
Know what you want, be focused and work hard at it with utmost discipline.
Apart from being a footballer, what else do you do?
I like treating myself to movies, late night at the cinema, I love music
What inspires you?
My children, they define me.
What next for Doreen?
I am like a moving train and every day I am picking up speed! Things can only get better.