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Women football is alive

05 November 2012, 16:54 Ellen Terry Busolo

Little or no attention is paid to which woman has been shortlisted when the Ballon d’Or shortlist is announced. Think of all the existing tournaments you have ever heard of; the English Premier League, Bundesliga, World Cup, Euro Cup, African Cup of Nations and all the others, Women also play these tournaments. To create awareness we will cover profiles and stories of women footballers and games they take part in, so that you can decide who you fancy to win the Ballon d’Or and get you to appreciate the fight these women put up to survive.

The FIFA Ballon d’Or Galla shortlist was announced on Thursday 25 October 2012; on the 9th of January 2013 it will be awarding the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football for 2012. Among other titles that will be recognized will be the best goalkeeper, defender, mid-fielders and strikers. The 10 women who were shortlisted were Camille Abily (France), Miho Fukumoto (Japan), Carli Lloyd (USA), Marta (Brazil), Aya Miyama (Japan), Alex Morgan (USA), Megan Rapinoe (USA), Homare Sawa (Japan), Christine Sinclair (Canada), Abby Wambach (USA). A number of them have been nominated a couple of times but have never won the award while others have been nominated and have won the award.

Unlike in men football, women national teams are valued more than leagues like Bundesliga and EPL, therefore as the women train they aim to be in their country’s national teams because that is where they get to be seen and heard.  You will be shocked to find out that even though USA does not have a strong men team, their women football team has been dubbed as the best as they proved in this year Olympic Games by winning the gold. Despite being viewed as the best team, US Women National Team (USWNT) has not been able to manage a successful league for their players. This is partly due to the fact that Americans do not value football or as they call it soccer, as much as they value the American Football, Baseball and other American games. It has therefore been a problem to get sponsors.

There is no African Woman footballer in the Ballon d’Or Galla shortlist, reason being, the sport is also not greatly appreciated or funded in Africa. The only African team that was able to qualify for the Olympics was South Africa and they did not even pass the first round.

In Kenya, there are tournaments in high schools that try to promote the game but after high school there are no teams that support the women to play in colleges or Universities. Is this really fair? And this is the point of contention. Whereby in the United States, girls are motivated to play in high school and even get to win scholarships to universities where they can perfect their skills and become professional players, here girls don’t get that chance. So most girls who want to play football prefer joining street clubs or teams and hope to make it to the national team by some miracle, than going to college. You see, abroad by the time this lady is through with her university she has had the chance to increase her knowledge through education and also improve her skills immensely, but in Kenya the lady is at the same education level she was when she left high school and even though her skills may have improved it is not up to the standard of a professional player, due to the presence of imposters who act as coaches or just an individual who decided to take pity on them and become their coach.

Yet when these ladies finally make it to the national team they are expected to play against each other. It doesn’t matter if they are of the same caliber, they have all been working towards the same goal; A chance to perform for their country and most importantly to play in the World Cup. African Countries like Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa have realized this and are investing in their women teams; hence you will see that even if these teams struggle when they meet other international teams, they may win sometimes.

Kenya has talented women footballers, but no one is willing to invest in it and make it a force to reckon with. Those who are willing do not have the funds and those who have the funds are not willing to invest. We really don’t have to be a part of the third world syndrome, whereby we have to be the last in everything. We can get our women national team to be recognized, and even maybe copy the example of the US Women National Team. Just because Harambee Stars is struggling to be on the map does not mean our ladies can’t be a visible spot on the map. The same way you love the men football you can learn to love the women’s football. It does not mean we have to love any less, we just have to love football for the game and for the thrill it brings us.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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