June 18, 2012

Nationwide Division 1

At the beginning of June we received a letter from the newly elected Football Kenya Federation (FKF) inviting the Suba Lakers to join the Nationwide Division 1 Ladies League.  It is a big honor to be selected to be apart of the 2nd highest Ladies League in the country.  There are 12 teams in the Premier League and now they are trying to form another Division so that teams can qualify for the Premier League and teams from the Premier League can be relegated.  Last year in December we reached the finals in our Branch Tournament so our branch nominated us to the team to represent them Nationally. 

We are still praying about the decision and waiting to find out more information before coming to a conclusion.  At first glance it might seem like a great idea because it will give our girls opportunities to compete against some of the top players and teams across the country.  They will get exposed to new places and it can help to open up doors for them educationally and even in their future careers.  Playing against tough competition on a consistent basis will really help the players develop at a faster rate and the team as a whole will vastly improve. 

But there are other factors to consider such as the costs of taking care of the girls’ meals and accommodations every weekend and also travelling to far away places.  Right now all of our players except one are going to school.  All of the secondary girls are in boarding schools.  Being away from home and school every weekend and missing some weekend classes could affect their academics.  Their parents and teachers might also become hesitant in releasing them so often. 

We are honored and humbled by the invitation, but we are praying and trusting that God will show us the right direction to take.  We tell our girls to put God 1st, Family 2nd, Academics 3rd and Football 4th so we want to make sure that we also do that same with our decisions.      

Secondary Games

Last weekend all of our Suba Laker Secondary Girls were in action playing for their respective schools in various zonal and district competitions throughout the Province.  We were able to go and watch several of them play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Moi Girls Secondary School in Sindo won their two preliminary matches 4-0 and 2-0.  It seems like those were warm-up games for them because they kicked it into another gear winning the semifinal 5-0 and the finals 7-0.  Playing on the left wing Irine Achieng scored 7 goals in the 4 matches and Sharon Bizmark, playing on the right wing and as a striker, scored 5 goals.  Together they helped Sindo win their zonal and qualify for the regional tournament in two weeks.

Jera Mixed Secondary School were able to win their District Championship Game 3-0 over former powerhouse Sega Girls Secondary School.  It was a convincing win against a quality team.  1st Year students Raysha Jedida, Alicent Awuor and Leah Ongojo made solid contributions to help their school qualify for regionals in two weeks. 

Kobala Mixed Secondary school also won their district on Sunday as 1st Year student, Caren Akeyo, scored the first goal in the opening minutes and the goals kept on coming after that with 6 by the halftime whistle.  It ended in a 10-0 drubbing.  In the semifinals they only won 3-0, but they showed their true potential in the finals.  Their impressive wins gave them a ticket to the Regional Finals next week. 

Gekomoni also won their district over the weekend with a 7-0 victory.  Belinda Awuor and Judith Mayor played solidly in the field and Eliva Awuor didn’t allow any balls past her in the goal.  Gekomoni has had very strong boys teams over the past couple of years, winning the province and even reaching the national finals, but this year they are trying to also put a strong emphasis on the girls and see if they can compete with Kobala and Jera.     

In Homa Bay, we had five of our players representing Bishop Okullu Magare Girls and two more playing for Asumbi Girls High School.  Asumbi had won the district 10 times out of the last 13 years so Magare was trying to stake their claim to girls football supremacy in the district.  Both teams were equally matched and they competed hard against each other.  Midway through the second half Magare broke through with a good finish inside the box from Suba Laker Damarice Awino.  They held on for a 1-0 victory with the 1st year student as the conquering hero.  One interesting part of the game was the captain for Magare was Mary Lucy Adhiambo (Suba Lakers and former CGA student) while the captain for Asumbi was Mary Lucy’s younger sister Linet (also Suba Lakers and former CGA student).  The two sisters met the referees before the match and competed hard for bragging rights in the family, but this time around the older sister prevailed, leaving the younger one waiting for next year.  Magare is proceeding to the Regional Finals in two weeks.

Sindo, Jera, Kobala, Gekomoni and Magare are all competing in the Regional Finals over the next two weeks for the chance to play in the Provencal Tournament in July.  All of them are heavy favorites to win their regions and book their tickets to face off with the best teams in the Province.  We hope to see all of them there!

June 4, 2012

Rusinga Tour

On June 1st Kenya was celebrating its 49th year of independence as a country.  The Suba Lakers used the holiday to take a little road trip within the district.  We loaded up 12 of our youngest players in my vehicle and drove across the causeway to Rusinga Island for a couple of friendly matches.  Many of the club officials and most of the players had never even been to Rusinga Island, though it is just next to Mbita town.  We have about 14 8th graders on our primary school team this year and since they will be sitting their National Exams in November and moving on to secondary school we used this opportunity to give the younger ones (mostly 5th and 6th graders with a few 7th graders) an opportunity to play.  In addition, we were looking for some other good young players from Rusinga to join the club.  We had sent letters to every school in Rusinga to send their best two players from 4th – 7th grade for the matches. 

In the morning we were at Kaswanga and played against Rusinga West.  Their organization wasn’t very good and our team took advantage to rout them 5-0, but it could have been much worse.  Theresa Atieno scored the first goal on a free kick and the second one also came on a free kick, this time from Winny Akinyi.  In the 2nd half goals followed from Lenser Adoyo, Brenda June and another one from Winny. 

Between games, as we were driving to the next destination, we stopped over at the Tom Mboya Mausoleum.  He is one of the most famous founding fathers of Kenya who was tragically assassinated in the streets of Nairobi in the early 1970’s.  We toured the museum, looked at the pictures and newspaper clippings and were taught by Mr. Mboya’s brother who is the caretaker there.  The girls also enjoyed some nice mangoes from the tree. 

In the afternoon, we found a much more organized and talented team at Kakrigu from Rusinga East.  By the time we arrived, the teachers were already with the players and preparing for the match.  They were aggressive and fast which caught our Mbita team by surprise.  Fortunately we managed to score in the 1st half on a cross from Winny Akinyi on the wing to Lenser Adoyo who was waiting for it on the other wing to put it in the net.  The Rusinga East team equalized shortly into the second half on a free kick.  By that point the Mbita team was getting tired after playing 90 minutes in the morning and the same amount in the afternoon, but they fought hard to get two late goals, one from Phylice Akoth and another from Brenda June to finish on top 3-1. 

After both matches, we had time to sit the teams down and share with them.  Teacher Lillian talked about making healthy choices in their lives that will help to build a better future.  I was able to use the EvangeCube to share the Gospel in simple terms and challenged them to reach out to Jesus who was ready to save them if they would ask him to forgive them for their sins and invite him into their lives.

It was a very successful day on the field and off the field for the Suba Lakers.  The young girls from Mbita and Rusinga had the opportunity to play and develop their talents.  They were encouraged and inspired physically, academically, socially and spiritually.  And we found a few good players in the process!