By Agnes Amondi,
On Tuesday, KWPL club representatives and the local governing body, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) held a consultative pre season meeting.
This ended with a resolution to revert back to zonal league system, one that was used until 2017 when a unified format was implented going into the 2018 season.
Soka25east.com engaged a couple of WPL coaches on the developments. This was their take:
Vihiga Queens head coach Alex Alumirah
“It’s a retrogressive step for women’s football in the country.It will impact negatively on potential sponsors because what they are looking for is numbers and wide scope of coverage.In terms of the zones created;
Zone B will be affected most financially as compared to zone B. Teams will have to shuttle from places like Oyugis to Kitale, Mumias to Naivasha, Eldoret to Kisumu, Nakuru to Mumias etc, long distances which require huge costs.In contrast, zone A will have lower costs since the distances are shorter.
So despite being told that the move was taken due to absence of costs, seems like that won’t be the case.
Also, talent scouting will benefit zone A more. Harambee Starlets technical bench and scouts are based in Nairobi, but might lack resources to frequent matches in Zone B hence players from this side will have a hard time getting to the national team.
“Ulinzi Starlets coach Joseph Wambua“Lack of regular matches is a cause of concern. With this arrangement, we are going to play only 14 games a year which is a low tally for a top flight league.Also, we will be having a space of approximately two weeks between our fixtures. It’s just ridiculous.
This is definitely going to affect the quality of players in the league and national team.My recommendation is to have more teams in each zone in order to increase the number of games.All in all, this move, as much as it is helping the Nairobi contingent save, in terms of development of women’s football it’s taking us back.
Thika Queens team manager Grantone Muganga“It is meant to help teams especially those that don’t have finances. Last season there were so many walkovers, two teams were expelled from the league and this format is going to help curb that. So I think it’s being done with pure intentions.
However, it’s also going to lower the standard of football because of fewer matches. Also due to little competition amongst teams in the two zones.Sponsorship will remain a thorny issue.
Sponsors for where there is visibility and this will greatly lack with this system.