•Kenya first shot into the limelight in 2019 when the women's national team, Harambee Starlets, dethroned hosts Tanzania at Chamazi Stadium, Dar es Salaam to clinch the Cecafa Senior Women's title.
• Nobody saw the title coming Vihiga's way especially after their torrid start in the group stages where their spirits were crashed following a humbling 4-2 loss to Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in the opener.
Vihiga Queen's splendid performance at the just concluded CAF Cecafa Women's Champions League qualifiers has injected a peculiar flavour into the local women's football scene.
The legacy makers shook off their underdogs' tag heading into the regional showpiece to upset their more fancied and well-oiled opponents.
Nobody saw the title coming Vihiga's way especially after their torrid start in the group stages where their spirits were crashed following a humbling 4-2 loss to Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in the opener.
And instead of wallowing in self pity, the girls managed to pick up their pieces and bounced back emphatically with two consecutive wins against Yei Joint Stars of South Sudan and New Generation of Tanzania to emerge second in Group 'B' behind CBE.
Vihiga's milestone achievement speaks volumes about Kenya's rich potential in women's football. It is the second time the country is popping the champagne after a landmark victory on the regional stage.
Kenya first shot into the limelight in 2019 when the women's national team, Harambee Starlets, dethroned hosts Tanzania at Chamazi Stadium, Dar es Salaam to clinch the Cecafa Senior Women's title.
Before jetting out of the country after witnessing the finals between Vihiga Queens and CBE at Moi Stadium, Kasarani, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura tipped Kenya to grace the forthcoming World Cup in New Zealand. She must have had a good reason.
“Congratulations on the women’s game in Kenya. You have a very active president and I hope to see you at the World Cup in 2023,” said Samoura.
As much as Samoura's words may sound far-fetched to a casual observer, they most certainly hold some water especially if one pauses to take stock of the great strides the country has made against an alarming background of upheavals.
Undoubtedly, Kenyan women footballers deserve more after surmounting a wide range of adversities to attain their current status.
Indeed, Vihiga's success is a reprieve to the country's women football after years of near disaster.
The women's top tier almost collapsed a year ago due to financial constraints. Two clubs stumbled and fell off along the way forcing the FKF leagues and competitions committee to come up with a viable way of arresting the dire situation.
Eventually, the league was split into two zones in a frantic measure aimed at minimising costs for teams traveling for away matches.
But there is now some good news amidst the raging storm after Samoura said Kenya would get its fair share of the funds the world football governing body has set aside for the development of women's football across the globe.
“Fifa has dedicated 1.5 billion dollars to help advance the women’s game up to the year 2022 and seeks to register 60 million players by 2026,” she said.
“Women’s football in Africa is growing and growing fast. From what I have seen here, you can tell that there is investment going into the game with clubs and what we are doing as Fifa is supporting that.”
And following FKF's move to reward individuals who exhibited exceptional performance during the just concluded Kenyan Premier League last night, we hope the same gesture will be extended to the women's league. They most certainly deserve it.