•“Knowing the challenges that girls face, we have had to look for mentors to talk to them after their games,”—Itotia
•Despite losing the women’s semi-final against Beijing Raiders, Kibagare girls’ dream of one day featuring in the Kenya Women’s Premier League seems not to be too far fetched.
After taming the jinx of being knocked out in the earlier stages of the Chapa Dimba tournament, Kibagare Football Club chairman Itotia Karanja feels they are making strides in the right direction following their first appearance in Nairobi Regional finals.
Despite losing the women’s semi-final against Beijing Raiders, Kibagare girls’ dream of one day featuring in the Kenya Women’s Premier League seems not to be too far fetched.
Inspired by the circumstances of growing up in the slum, Karanja says he has hopes that one day the team will produce stellar talents who will feature in the national team. He also hopes that his team will qualify to the women’s Division One league and in the long run, feature in the women’s premier league.
“Growing up in the slum, I started this initiative because I could see a lot of girls had what it takes to play football. Though it is not an easy task to take on, it has been rewarding especially because we made it to the regional finals of the Chapa Dimba tournament this year. It is something we had never done,” he said.
The team was founded in the slums of Kibarage in 2007 by the team chairman who also serves as the team manager for the ladies side. He says they are not just a football club.
“Knowing the challenges that girls face, we have had to look for mentors to talk to them after their games,” he explained.
Being a self-sponsored team, Karanja reveals the challenges they face to sustain the team which plays in FKF regional league. “We conduct a funds drive in the area and also do a mini-fundraiser amongst ourselves,” he said.
The money, he says caters for transport to game venues, playing kit and sanitary towels for the ladies side.
Coached by Peter Ng’ang’a, the team comprises youthful girls aged between 14-22 years. They have participated in tournaments such as Extreme Super 8 tournament, Unicef tournament, Chapa Dimba and Mathare Youth Sports Association tournament.