Nabwire steering Kenya’s global success drive
Kenya legend Doreen Nabwire has a dream of the Harambee Starlets, as Kenya’s women’s national team is nicknamed, playing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and being a regular participant at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON).
Nabwire, who currently works as Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Deputy Competitions Manager believes that Kenya has shown the world that it has what it takes to compete at the top especially after the run up in the African qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Starlets reached the penultimate round of the continental qualifiers before losing to Zambia 3-2 on aggregate.
“There has been a lot of growth for the women’s game in Kenya over the last four years. Though we have a long way to go, I believe we have made some huge strides,” Nabwire recounts.
She adds: “We qualified for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 2016 and missed out of qualification narrowly in 2018. This year, we have come through to the penultimate round of qualification to the Olympics and we have won the CECAFA Cup for the first time too.”
“I believe that soon we will be contending to play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
However, Nabwire believes that for Kenya to attain that dream, they must ensure they cement their place among the top ranked teams on the continent.
“If we can consistently play at the high level and compete with some of the top teams, we will mature as a team,” she noted.
The FIFA and CAF instructor who is a also a qualified coach was the first ever Kenyan women to play professional football outside the country, having made out a massive career playing for Werder Bremen in Germany. In her maiden campaign in Germany, Nabwire clinched the Golden Boot award after scoring 13 goals and was runner up in the league’s player of the year award.
Her success in Germany saw her secure another move in Netherlands where she turned out for FC Zwolle before ultimately returning to Germany where she signed with FC Koln.
While at Koln, she picked up a career ending knee injury that forced her to stay out for long. She decided to come back home. Upon her return, she chose to continue giving back to the game and after two seasons playing in the local league, she went into management and has risen through the ranks to currently deputize in the Leagues and Competitions Department of the FKF.
She supervises the Women’s Leagues as well as the Men’s second-tier league.
“We started off by re-modelling the Premier League in 2016 and in 2017 we started the second-tier. The growth up to now has been immense but we can still do
Even as she dreams of seeing Kenya play at the top level of women’s football in the world, Nabwire is cognizant of the fact that the local leagues need to be competitive enough, a level which can be attained by the coming on board of more sponsors and partners.
“We started off by re-modelling the Premier League in 2016 and in 2017 we started the second-tier. The growth up to now has been immense but we can still do better. We have been forced to revert to zonal leagues because of lack of funds but if we can get more sponsors on board, we can grow the league to be one of the best in Africa,” she asserts.
As she gives her all to ensure that the top level of women’s football continues to rise, Nabwire also uses her free time once in a while to coach schools and community teams as well as offer motivational talks to upcoming youngsters to help them follow in the same route she took to the top.