KeWPL: Plans underway for a unified league next season

Rebecca Magoma

News that next season’s Football Kenya Federation Women Premier League will revert to a unified system of play has been welcomed by coaches.

The 2016-17 league season, which came to an end over the weekend at Camp Toyoyo grounds where Vihiga Queens defeated Thika Queens 2-1 to bag their maiden title, has been running on a zonal format for the last two seasons with top sides from Zone A and B meeting in the one-legged play-off to determine the champions at the end of the season.

A unified league was once played in 2012 where UNICEF was the title sponsor but after their withdrawal, things changed to worse.

“A unified league is what every team is dreaming of. Some people say that zones are not balanced. If we get a unified league, we will definitely see the competitiveness of clubs in the country,” said Vihiga Queens coach Alex Alumira.

“We have talents in the country and if it goes well, the unified league will change women’s football in the country and the standards will rise,” Alumira added.

Speaking at Camp Toyoyo over the weekend, FKF vice president and women’s committee chairperson, Doris Petra said plans are underway to ensure the 2018 league is unified.

“Plans are underway to ensure that next year’s league is unified. It’s unfair, for example that some teams in zone A don’t get to play teams in zone B and therefore they don’t get a chance to gauge themselves against their rivals,” she said.

This is however, the second time Petra has promised that the league will be unified. Last season, Petra said the federation was working to ensure that the league will be unified but nothing changed owing to lack of sponsors.

“The federation needs to look for sponsors to make sure everything goes well. The idea of playing a unified league is great but without sponsors, teams will struggle and walkovers will be the order of the day,” said Oserian Ladies Coach Hudson Odari.

Kayole Starlet coach Joshua Sakwa welcomed the idea saying a unified league will change the way women’s football is managed in the country.

“Its a good move. A unified league will bring competition,” he said.

Vihiga Queens won Ksh 100,000 for their exploits while Thika Queens went home with Ksh 70,000 with third placed Oserian Ladies pocketing Ksh 30,000.

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