How Soccer Academy For Boys, Girls Is Breaking Eastlands Stereotypes
When it comes to matters football, mostly the male gender is the one associated with this sport but the perspective is different for Coach Daniel Maloba, the founder of Star Soccer Football Academy for children in Ziwani/Kariokor and its environs.
Star Soccer Academy came into existence two years ago with about 7 boys but the team has seen gradual growth and the members are currently 80 with 26 of them being girls. The academy takes in children from the age of 3 with lighter exercises being assigned to them since the coach believes that it is important to set a base for them at a younger age as they proceed to the complex exercises as they get older.
“This time it is all about gender equality,” mentions Coach Maloba as he shares with Ghetto Radio on the importance of giving both boys and girls equal opportunities and a spot in his academy.
Coach Maloba also shares with us that the positions of Assistant Coach and the Head of Logistics are also occupied by ladies namely Khadija Burhan and Fiona Ogola, also for the purposes of gender equality.
“I started showing interest in sports back then when I was still in school, I used to play football but it came a time when my dad was completely against it and since then I have not been active as a player but I really enjoy watching the sport,” says Khadija.
She shares that it has not been easy for her due to stereotypes from people who believe that women are not capable of taking part in sports or being in sports leadership.
“If you love football and you have interest in it, go for it,” she advises women with a passion in sports.
She says that she keeps on going despite the negative comments she keeps getting.
Female sportsperson are known to have flown the Kenyan flag very high. Just recently Harambee Starlets qualified for the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON). Politics that have currently bedeviled the football industry in Kenya led to their disqualification.
Coach Maloba and his colleagues not only aim to groom and perfect the budding talents but to also raise fine boys and girls character wise which is key in the upbringing of young ones.
Among the challenges that pose as a setback to him and the young ones is the lack of facilities like a good quality pitch and unavailability of a turf for good technical skills but they have still managed to operate with the currently available facilities.
Currently they train at the Umeme Grounds in Ziwani.
Support from the parents has also come in handy in ensuring operations run smoothly in the academy since they provide kits and transport for the children when they go for training sessions which are usually on weekends and on holidays when most of them are not engaged with school activities.
By Stella Anyango.