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IDENTICAL TWINS IN ALL SENSE

Akinyi , Aluoch are an imposing pair that is difficult to separate

They eventually joined Maina Wanjigi High School in Nairobi where they used their allowances from Mathare United matches to settle their school fees

In Summary

•The identical twins were born on May 20, 1994 at South West Kamagambo in Migori County but spent their formative years in the sprawling Mathare Slums 

•It was at Valley View that they learned their basic skills in the sport while turning out for the school team, both as right offensive midfielders.

Vivian Akinyi and Sharon Aluoch
Vivian Akinyi and Sharon Aluoch
Image: COURTESY

With tastes and decisions nearly as identical as their looks, twin sisters, Vivian Akinyi and Sharon Aluoch have proved over the years to be an imposing pair that is difficult to separate.

The Komullo siblings are so identical almost to a fault, to an extent that a stranger could easily mistake one for the other.

The siblings narrate a story whereby one day a teacher came to Vivian’s class after seeing Sharon in the next room and got so irritated. Mr. Lawrence, the school’s science teacher angrily asked Vivian why she was jumping from one class to another and demanded that she leaves immediately and go back to her class. He felt embarrassed when he personally frog marched Vivian to the next classroom and found Sharon seated there.

 

When Vivian rubbed people the wrong way and ran away, Sharon would be beaten up by those her sister had offended as they easily thought they were one and the same person.

In fact, the two are not only identical but also inseparable. They have stuck together through thick and thin and have played for the same team at any given time for the last eight years they’ve been playing top flight football.

The identical twins were born on May 20, 1994 at South West Kamagambo in Migori County but spent their formative years in the sprawling Mathare Slums where they cut teeth in football.

They attended Valley View Academy, a private school that had established a solid culture for football. It was at Valley View that they learned their basic skills in the sport while turning out for the school team, both as right offensive midfielders.

Featuring in the same position meant that one of them would always warm the bench as the other played. This made Vivian to consider switching her role to a goalkeeper.

“Both of us began playing football when we were still in Class Three. We were all playing in position 7 on the pitch. The coach would always pick Sharon ahead of me so when I realized that I hardly got any chance to play, I decided to give goal-keeping a chance,” says Vivian.

So good were the twins that they soon got an opportunity to feature for Mathare United Women Football Club in the  premier league while they were still in primary school, aged only 14.

 

“We got a chance to travel to Norway with the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) U-14 team in 2008. On our return to the country, we were immediately drafted into the senior team,” says Sharon.

Vivian and Sharon sat for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams in 2013 and joined Sega Girls High School, where they studied without paying school fees on the strength of their talent in football.

At Sega, they were always together and stuck out their heads for each other. The two vividly recall an incident at Sega whereby some indisciplined students attempted to subject them to bullying only for them to stand their ground and fight back.

“A day after reporting to school, we bumped into a group of bullies who ordered us to grab their pails and fetch water for them. We snubbed them and they became very angry and vowed to teach us a lesson.”

Vivian (L) and Sharon Aluoch with Gaspo Rangers' team-mate Winnie Mugeci.
Vivian (L) and Sharon Aluoch with Gaspo Rangers' team-mate Winnie Mugeci.
Image: REUTERS

“A day later in the evening, we bumped into them once again in an isolated place within the school compound where they confronted us. Unshaken, we picked up a fight and beat them up terribly.”

Somehow, the teachers eventually got to hear about the incident through some students who were members of the journalism club. The next morning the siblings and the students they fought were all paraded at the school assembly.

“Surprisingly, the head teacher jumped to our defence. She wondered what would push a new student into a physical confrontation with the seniors unless she had been bullied.”

The teacher wrapped up the morning parade with a stern warning to the students. “Never joke with footballers. They will kick you like a ball,” warned the teacher.

Vivian and Sharon were on top of their game at Sega. So impressive were they that they became part of the squad that represented the school in the East and Central Africa ball games where they finished fourth overall.

They didn’t, however, last there long enough to realise more success after the departure of the principal and the games teacher in the same year forced them to part ways with the school.

“When the two teachers got transferred to other schools, there was nobody else left behind to address our needs. We made a decision to quit the school the moment the new principal asked us to start paying school fees,” says Sharon.

They eventually joined Maina Wanjigi High School in Nairobi where they used their allowances from Mathare United matches to settle their school fees. “At that time, Mathare United paid our school fees and we would also get some extra money for our upkeep. Mathare would give us Sh5,500 per month in total.”

Vivian recalls their first match ever for Mathare United Women, where they devoured the hapless opponents. “We made our debut appearance for Mathare United against Thika Queens whom we thrashed 4-0,” she says.

By then, both Vivian and Sharon had consolidated their positions in the team as goalkeeper and left-back respectively.

“There was a shortage of left-backs in the team and although I’m a natural right foot, I lived up to expectations when coach Austine Ajowi fielded me in that position,” says Sharon.

But it was coach John Karuse who turned Sharon into a defender during their trip with the MYSA U-14 Girls team in Norway.

Vivian readily agrees that their teachers, especially Mr. Sumba and Mr. George both played vital roles in their growth in football during their formative years as they would consistently encourage them.

However, it was their elder brother, Bricall Omondi, who actually introduced them to football. He would take them along to the pitch and allow them to train with a development side he had formed called Black Bunners.

Vivian and Sharon
Vivian and Sharon

Their involvement in football elicited mixed reactions from their parents. Although their mother, Hellen Aoko Komullo, who was positive and encouraged them all the way, the same can not be said about their father, George Owuor Komullo, only began approving of the idea after the girls took home Sh10,000 prize money they had won during a tournament. “Mum always encouraged us to play football. However, dad didn’t welcome the idea at first. He only began looking at it positively after we brought home some prize money from a soccer tournament.”

The siblings have both featured for the national soccer team. Harambee Starlets head coach David Ouma handed them their maiden call-up in 2014 when they traveled to Rwanda before making another trip to South Africa in 2015. Have they both ever featured for the national team in the same match?

“Yes, we were all on the pitch at the same time when Harambee Starlets played against Lavante in Spain,” says Vivian.

While Vivian draws a lot of inspiration from USA first choice custodian Hope Solo, Sharon considers Brazilian Martha as her role model.

In what appears to surprise many, the twins have never featured for different clubs at any given time in their football history spanning close to a decade now.

They left Mathare United to link up with Kenya Sports Journalists in 2012. They featured for the scribes for two seasons before decamping to Makolanders in 2015. They then proceeded to Soccer Queens and stayed there for an year and finally joined Gaspo in 2018 where they are to-date.

Sharon (L) and Vivian
Sharon (L) and Vivian
Image: FILE

Vivian fondly relives her match for Harambee Starlets against Nigeria as her best ever despite the heavy loss the Kenyan girls suffered.

“Although I conceded four goals, I felt proud having played in the same match as Nigeria’s Ashaola who features for Arsenal in England,” says Vivian.

Sharon on her part, fondly remembers her match against Matuu in 2012 when she featured for Mathare United. The match was headed to a barren draw when she clinched a superb goal that separated the two sides at full time.

“We had a close battle with Matuu and the game was tied at a barren draw when the referee awarded us a free kick. I unleashed a rasping shot from deep into midfield that swished past the goalkeeper and banged the net. It was the only goal of the match and that’s how we won,” says Sharon.

The twins have a vital piece of advice for budding footballers who are training their eyes on top flight football. “Top flight football is really competitive but it provides good exposure and affords a player the opportunity to play for the national team. They should therefore work hard to attain such heights,” they conclude.

 

BIO

Name: Vivian Akinyi

Place of Birth: Migori

Position: Goalkeeper

 

Schools Attended:

Valley View Academy;

Sega Girls High School;

Maina Wanjigi High School

 

Clubs featured for:

Mathare United;

Sports Journalists of Kenya;

Soccer Queens;

Gaspo.

Played for the national team.

 

SHARON BIO

Name: Sharon Aluoch

Place of Birth: Migori

Position: Left-back

 

Schools Attended:

Valley View Academy;

Sega Girls High School;

Maina Wanjigi High School

 

Clubs featured for:

Mathare United;

Sports Journalists of Kenya;

Soccer Queens;

Gaspo.

Played for the national team.