Esse Akida, A striker so fast that she left defenders chasing shadows-The story

Football is a gift from God. God gave Esse Akida this gift just as He gives a song to a musician or singer.

Akida was born in Kilifi and started playing football at 8 years at Moving the Goalposts

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Young Esse Akida receives an award at Moving the Goal Post (MTG) project in Kilifi

(MTG). MTG is an NGO that promotes girls’ football as well as empower women to take up leadership roles for instance coaching and soccer management. Here in Kilifi is where the fantastic story of Akida began. Her role model at MTG was Sarah Ford who is the founder of Moving the Goal post.

 

While at National Youth Talent Academy (NYTA), Akida finished as the joint top striker in the Kenya Women Premier League in 2012 alongside Mildred Cheche and Millicent Mwanzia. She attributes her scoring prowess mainly to one coach Robert Okalo who taught her how to hit the target and sharpened her skills.

National Duty

When you talk about Esse Akida you talk about Harambee Starlets, and when you talk

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Esse Akida jersey no (14) with harambee Starlets in the CECAFA Championship in Tanzania

about Harambee Starlets you talk about Esse Akida. It is difficult to escape her impact at the national team. She is a symbol of success and a symbol of football. She is a national icon and a true Kenyan patriot.

 

Lowest football moment

Akida’s debut for the National team began with an acid test against Ethiopia in a friendly match in Addis Ababa. Kenya lost 5-0. The Year is 2012. She confesses this to be her toughest match in her career since she did not have international experience. From there on, the success story of Akida in the national team would blossom.

Despite being part of the Kenya team that drew 2-2 with Rwanda in the All Africa Games Qualifier where Kenya was bundled out on the away goal rule in 2013, Akida watched the match from the terraces because of issues with her passport.

Glorious moments

In 2015, she played against Botswana in the Rio Olympics Qualifier and Kenya won 2-1 on aggregate. Kenya went on to lose to South Africa’s Banyana Banyana 2-0 on aggregate in the two legged fixture. The same year, Akida played against Algeria in the qualifiers for the AWCON where they created history by qualifying for the first time in the history of Kenya.

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Supernatural speed causing nightmares to opposing defenders. Esse Akida of Harambee Starlets beats her opponent in the COTIFF cup in Spain. She was always seconds ahead of her markers.

In 2016 Esse Akida scored her first international goal against the Crested Cranes of Uganda in Kisumu in a match which Kenya won comfortably by four goals to nil. The same year the undisputed top striker for harambee starlets put Kenya on the football map. Her scoring brilliance made her the top scorer in the COTIFF cup in Spain with 5 spectacular goals. Akida makes scoring look easy. She has supernatural speed and can shoot with both feet. Her left foot is as good as her right foot when it comes to shooting the ball.

During the COTIFF cup in Spain she wanted to win, break records and break boundaries. We are talking about a scoring genius here with technical and physical power. If there was a player to stand out in the COTIFF cup it was Esse Akida. She received the golden boot with both hands.

During the CECAFA tourney in neighboring

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Cabinet secretary for sports Dr. Hassan wario, masterful coach of harambee Starlets David Ouma and FKF President Nick Mwendwa in jubilant mood after Harambee Starlets qualified for the AWCON for the first time after upsetting Algeria.

Tanzania, Akida’s flashes of individual brilliance propelled her to win the silver boot with 5 goals, one behind the golden boot winner Hassifa Nasuna of Uganda who netted 6 goals. Hassifa Nasuna was Uganda woman footballer of the year in her country. Earning the golden boot in the COTIFF cup, Silver boot in the CECAFA and joint top scorer in the 2016 WPL cannot be said to be a weakness. Akida has to be the best striker. Her goals have brought trophies and success.

In the AWCON Kenya made their maiden appearance and cemented their name in the history of Kenyan football with the first ever goal a stunner against Ghana. Who else would have scored the historic goal? It had to be Esse Akida. Akida the goal poacher and a humble player testifies to have learnt from her inspirational coach at harambee starlets David Ouma that patience, hard work and perseverance lead to success. She thanks her former coaches Robert Okalo, Mary Adhiambo, Ken, Ocrine, Joseph Oyoo and Nyaberi for the priceless impact to her life.

Life at KeMU

In 2013, Akida the heroine was awarded financial assistance by MTG to join Kenya Methodist University to pursue a bachelors’ degree in Business Administration. She knew too well that there was life after football and life after the applause was challenging to many football stars. The road down for many celebrated footballers and sportsmen who did not plan for retirement in the sporting career has been very steep as they wallow in poverty and depression. Akida decided to borrow a leaf from Kenyan football greats such as Dr. JJ Masiga of AFC Leopards when AFC was AFC, Dr. William Obwaka of Mighty Gor Mahia, Dr. Dan Shikanda of AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia, Dr. Zacheus Omondi of Kenya Breweries now Tusker FC and the late Dr. Socrates who captained the giants of Brazil in the 1982 world cup. These football icons balanced elite football and academics. It is always good to make hay while the sun shines for the football career is very short.

Akida joined the formidable KeMU Queens the first day she arrived at the Meru based main campus. That KeMU team was football in its purest form. They were the joy of the

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Esse Akida at KeMU football pitch

people and played scintillating football. They brushed aside all teams that came their way. These KeMU queens played with artistry and swagger. At KeMU the goals continued coming for Esse Akida. She is the all-time leading top scorer of KeMU with over 50 goals. Here at KeMU she ran many teams rugged. She was the top scorer in the East Africa University Games (EAUG) in Uganda at Uganda Christian University (UCU) in 2015 with a total of 9 goals winning the golden boot. She helped KeMU finish as the runners up in the Africa University Games (FASU) after Makerere University on home soil at U.O.N in 2014. Akida was in the KeMU team that won the overall trophy of the International Women Days football tournament at African Nazarene University.

In 2015 scored her goal in the 2-0 victory over Soccer Queens in the final match of the Women Premier league tournaments in Nakuru where KeMU were the overall victors. During the first Inter county championship in Laikipia County, Akida was among the 15 players from KeMU who were chosen to represent Meru County. She emerged as the top scorer in the tourney with a total of 9 goals and won the golden boot. Meru County was the overall football winner in the women category after beating a star studded Laikipia county 5-4 on penalties.

Esse Akida occupies a special place in the hearts of Kenyan football fans and will long live in their memories.

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