May 28, 2012

Coca Cola

On May 19th the Suba Lakers participated in the Coca Cola Tournament at Mbita High School. We were the only girls team from Mbita District invited. Our competition was Moi Girls Secondary School from Sindo where three of our girls are learning. It was supposed to be an Under 17 tournament, but as usually is the case in Kenya, they were not very strict with age. Those secondary school girls were considerably older than our mostly 6th and 7th graders. Competing against some of their older club teammates, the Lakers were a little hesitant at first, getting a feel for the game in the opening 10 minutes. But soon after, they settled in and took control of the match. Our young girls began dominating ball possession and created several chances, especially in the final minutes of the first half, but were unable to break through. The second half began like the first half ended and there was still no fruit for our hard labour. Against the grain of play, they got the ball into our box and one of our defenders handled it, giving them a penalty. Suba Laker Irine Achieng scored the penalty for Sindo just off the fingertips of our Goalkeeper Lillian Awuor. Undeterred, our young girls kept fighting and took back control of the game. A few minutes before time ran out Winny Akinyi beat the goalkeeper to a crossed ball and volleyed it over her head to tie up the score.

This time around there are no prizes in the coca cola tournament and the winning team doesn't advance (two years ago we reached the Provencal Semifinals). It is more like a talent search now so after the match they selected 9 of our players and 7 of the Sindo players (2 of our Suba Lakers) to form a team to move on to the next level next month. The club also got a set of long sleeve jerseys and a ball to take home with them, along with some good experience for their young players.

May 2, 2012

Football and Beyond

This year the KYFA Nationwide Ladies Tournament was much more than football. They were able to provide meals and accommodation so that all 20 teams could eat and sleep at the same venue. They had special programs every night and every morning. The team was“Football and Beyond.” They brought in successful young women to share with the girls. Their talks were challenging and inspiring to these young ladies. They encouraged them to be bold and learn to speak up when necessary. They talked about setting goals and working towards achieving them. As they shared their life stories, they also talked about the challenges and obstacles that girls in Kenya face, and how to overcome them. On the last night, each team performed a skit on how to “Overcome the Odds.” As an organization, we began the Suba Lakers to use football as a means to impact the lives of young girls physically, socially, academically and spiritually. It was great to be involved with a tournament that is trying to do the same thing.

Another “highlight” of the weekend was seeing a tournament actually uphold a standard of integrity. One of the semifinal teams brought in a new player on the last day for their semifinal match which was strictly against the rules. The new player actually scored the game winning goal, but afterwards the losing team lodged an official complaint. After investigating it was found to be true and the team was disqualified. It happened to be a local team and the coach incited the players to protest by not playing in the 3rd place playoff and instead sat on the field where the finals were supposed to be played. The local fans were also incited and threatened to throw stones and not allow the finals to begin unless their team was allowed to play. KYFA stood their ground and eventually an official was able to convince the team to leave the field so that the finals could take place. Most of the time in this country, corruption and cheating is just accepted with no consequence. It was good to see someone make a stand for truth and integrity, even if it meant making enemies with a local team and even local fans in favor of a team from outside the area. Maybe things are slowly starting to change in this country!

Nationwide Success

The Suba Lakers had two teams competing in the Kisumu Youth Football Association Nationwide Ladies Tournament over the weekend. Both teams placed third in their age categories, bringing home trophies, medals and prize money. .

The open age team lost their first match to Victoria FC 4-0 after giving up four goals in the second half on a rain soaked field at Kenyatta Sports ground in the opening match of the tournament. They bounced back later that day by thrashing Hatua Molo FC 12-0 with five goals from Dorothy Adhiambo. On Saturday morning they faced a tough task playing against one of the best secondary school teams in the country, Jera. In addition, three of the Suba Lakers were playing for Jera. A back and forth first half did not produce any goals until the last few minutes when Everline Moraa rocketed a shot past the goalkeeper. That was all the Lakers needed as they held on for a 1-0 win. In their final preliminary game, the Lakers scored a late second half goal on a penalty kick to draw with Kasagam 1-1. With 7 points, the Lakers finished 2nd in the pool and qualified for a semifinal encounter with Ibinzo from Western Province. Suba dodged several bullets in the first half and went into halftime 0-0. Unfortunately Ibinzo scored early in the second half and followed it up with 3 more to rout the Lakers 4-0. The Lakers qualified for 3rd place with a walkover. It is the first time the Suba Lakers have been able to finish in the top three in the KYFA Nationwide Tournament.

The Under 15 team dominated their pool, opening with a 4-3 win over Soccer Sisters from Nairobi on two goals by Brenda June and two more by Lucia Awino. They won their second match 3-1 over Kisum Leeds on goals by Theresa Atieno, Brenda June and Winny Akinyi. On the second day they settled for a 5-5 draw with reigning champions Victoria after giving up 2 late goals. In their final group game they defeated Shaurimoyo 4-1. They finished tied at the top of the standing with Victoria but were placed 2nd because they scored 1 less goal than Victoria. In the semis, they faced SEP from Oyugis and started off down 4-0, but recovered with 2 goals in the second half before running out of time to finish their comeback. In the third place playoff on Sunday morning they easily handled TYSA from Kitale 7 to 3 behind 4 goals from Winny Akinyi. A few of the teams brought secondary girls much older than 15, but our 6th and 7th graders competed favourably with all of the teams. It was a good experience for them and they have shown us that the Suba Lakers have a bright future ahead of them.