(I am a women’s soccer fan and the condition of our teams in Kenya is wanting. As a sports journalist, i have decided to try and cover as many of our women players as i can and write articles about the women’s football in my country. It is rarely talked about since the focus is always on the men. So here I am with my first player profile. Opinions are welcome!)
With the Kenya women’s league just around the corner, it would be a crime not to introduce some of these ladies to you. Sarah inspired my article Optimism Keeps Our Women Going. She is an inspiring lady who is so passionate about football that it is visible in the way she plays. Her skill speaks for itself and she leaves you no choice than to be her fan.
Name: Ogonyo Sarah @facebook – Ogonyo Sarah
Team: Spedag FC
Best Meal: Fish and Ugali
Hobbies: Playing football, reading, singing and swimming
How long have you been playing football?
Actively since 2000 when I joined high school, I never missed in the school’s team.
What position did you first play and what clubs have you played for?
Initially I started with striking. My very first club was Smart Ladies FC then Galactico Fc, both are based in Kisumu, Kenya.
What position do you play now?
Defence and in most cases overlapping defender for that matter, I love scoring goal sometimes…..
What is your favourite Jersey number?
Well I never used to have a favourite number but I have become fond of number 8
Who is your favourite female player in the world?
That must be Marta da Silva of Brazil.
Where do you train from when you are not training with the team?
Coincidentally the very same pitch the team uses for training is the same one I use for personal training.
How did you land in Spedag fc? How long have you played there?
I came to Mombasa (Coast of Kenya) to look for a job through a friend who is also a player and before I knew it I was in the team but I must admit it wasn’t that easy because there were new faces everywhere. Nevertheless I love being with the team.
What is your best moment in your career thus far?
There was a time last season I was on the bench for a very long time and I started getting fed up. We went for an away game in Nairobi and we were playing with Kamaliza Eaglets, I was on the starting line-up, can you imagine I scored a hat trick that was my best moment so far in my football career.
What club would you like to play for in the future (locally & Internationally)?
I have always loved Spedag so much, but given a chance, Moyas would be that other team. Moyas has many experienced players and that’s a fact and they have a compact playing unit. Internationally Arsenal Ladies FC, it’s not a bad one (laughs) … and I am a die-hard Manchester United fan!!!! (If only Manchester United had a ladies team…)
What do you think about women football in Kenya?
Women football in Kenya has come a long way and that’s why we feel so bad when very little attention is given to it. Ladies have worked so hard to be where we are today and we are not going to stop until we get what we deserve. If we stop, where are the younger players going to get role models. Somebody should recognize the effort we have put in women soccer!
What are some of the challenges ladies face in Kenya in this sport?
1. Lack of motivation. No one is ready to motivate the upcoming players.
2. Lack of facilities and this range from training to playing facilities.
3. Sponsorship is another challenge. Very few companies are willing to sponsor girls to play soccer but I am very grateful for those that have done so especially Spadag Interfreight that sponsors Spedag FC.We have so many challenges I may not be able to mention all of them here.
Can the Harambee Starlets (Kenya national team) make it to any Women’s world cup any time soon?
Only if the Government wants to make it a reality; the girls are willing but the government doesn’t seem to be ready. Look at our under 20 team, it comprised of national team material. People like Sharon, Neddy, Terry, Jackline, Ogol; just to mention but a few are all national team material. They should be maintained at all cost and this is the only way we can get there.
What needs to be done to ensure we qualify for the world cup 2015?
We should have a unit that specifically deals with women soccer and once the players are identified they should be maintained and given proper training, otherwise World cup 2015 will just be a dream.
Women football is getting recognized in the world, what can FKF (Football Kenya Federation) do to ensure we are not left behind?
They should get themselves involved like they do with male soccer. The ladies are willing to play but the federation doesn’t seem to be interested in the effort we try to put in.
For women since football is not a pro sport, most players depend on a second career for livelihood. What is your other career? How does this affect your training regime?
A good question huh… Well, I thank God He has blessed me with a job. I work as a clerk with one of the companies in Mombasa. It’s not easy juggling between my work and training so there are times when the team trains in the morning and that’s the time I get to train with them, otherwise I train all by myself if am not able to make it to the sessions.
There are a lot of upcoming female footballers who are looking up to the existing players for inspiration. What do you do to ensure you have the motivation and inspiration to pass down to them?
Women are not easily inspired especially when it comes to football so normally when we spot one with interest in soccer we always encourage them to join our team, and they receive intense training. Well I must say some give up on the way but some endure to the end.
Who would you like to appreciate that has inspired your football career?
The fact that I am where I am today in as far as football is concerned is an inspiration enough. The love for this beautiful game has inspired me a lot. I love football so much and at one time my mum almost stopped me from playing because I wasn’t concentrating in school and it’s not that I wasn’t performing well….
What is your parting shot to the upcoming younger players?
We have laid the foundation, it’s their time to ensure that the construction is completed and maintained. Let not what we have worked for go to waste. The mantle is now theirs…
A Sports enthusiast. Football lover and blogger.