Year in Review: The rise and rise of Kwale Girls


Year in Review: The rise and rise of Kwale Girls
ES Shwemu players look dejected as Kwale Girls celebrate Saumu Baya's equalizer at the Ubworoherane Stadium in Musanze, Rwanda. (PHOTO/Matthews Mutai)

In Summary

  • Kwale Girls emerged virtually from nowhere to cause easily one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 Kenya Secondary Schools Games season as they claimed the national football title against a tide of seasoned sides
  • The Coastal girls dominated their group and the knockout, winning in convincing manner while their 4-1 demolition of Western Region powerhouse Archbishop Njenga only highlighted that no part of their rise had been a fluke

Kwale Girls emerged virtually from nowhere to cause easily one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 Kenya Secondary Schools Games season as they claimed the national football title against a tide of seasoned sides.

The Coastal girls dominated their group and the knockout, winning in convincing manner while their 4-1 demolition of Western Region powerhouse Archbishop Njenga only highlighted that no part of their rise had been a fluke.

They went on to cap a magical year by winning the East Africa School Games title in Musanze, Rwanda with skipper Elizabeth Katungwa finding the winner in their 1-0 final victory over Uganda’s Kawempe Muslim Secondary School.

As coach Mukasa Amboko would reveal, this stirring rise was sparked by a third-placed finish at the Mombasa Regional Games in 2015 when they narrowly missed a ticket to the National Games behind St Johns Kaloleni and Waa  Girls.

Amboko and the school management embarked on a plan to stop the dominance of Kaloleni in coastal region girls’ football with the long-term goal to establish themselves as a regional powerhouse.

With the help of his long term friend and competitor Joseph Oyoo of Kaloleni ,Amboko engaged in serious scouting of talent all over coastal region and managed to recruit ten students from Primary School.

The coach was very specific with the qualities he was looking for.

“We looked at the academic performance of the student, second it’s the age she must be able to fit in the under 16 team for two years,then the technical ability of the player simple basics like ball control, ball movement once a player has such qualities its becomes easy for us to nature them to be complete players.

“I also like players with small bodies because they have speed and endurance and such players are good for my style of play which depends so much on speed,” said Amboko .

With the aim of creating a good foundation the school management continued to support the project despite loosing to Kaloleni 7-1 in the regional final in 2016 for the under 19.

But somehow the fruits of the recruitment were immediately felt having won 10-0 Waa in the Under-16 category he attributes this to his style of play.

“I like possession and quick attack, in high school games attacking is a priority because of the timing. You have a short time to score as many goals as possible, I borrow so much from the Germany coaches who base their style on, good possession, high speed and quick recovery when you lose the ball,” added Amboko

Patience is not simply the ability to wait its how one behaves while waiting. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time, Amboko and his team learned from their mistake in 2016 and improved on them in 2017 where they strengthened their squad adding eight new more players and still lost to Waa girls in the regional finals 3-2 on post match penalties after 1-1 draw.

The main breakthrough came in 2018 when they finally beat their main rivals St John’s Kaloleni In girls’ under 19, 2-0 in the regional finals to represent the coastal region in the national competitions Eldoret .

In the East Africa school game held in Rwanda a second half goal from Katungwa was all Kwale needed to clinch the football title as the Kenyan representative beat Kawempe to extend their superiority regionally.

With the team set to defend the three titles in next year’s competitions Amboko has a message to Football Kenya Federation .

“Women football will dies if no money is pumped in the women league. A lot of money is invested in the men league, and the clubs are in a position to pay the player however small the amount of money is.

There is also need to train more women youth coaches because they are the most important coaches, in the foundation of a player,” the veteran coach told Citizen Digital.

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Story By John Kyanda
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