KeMU Queens dominance in University football

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KeMU Queens array of super talents that conquered and won the hearts of fans

Just as everyone has a birthday, KeMU Queens football team was established in the year 2006. The Dean of Students by then was Mr. Japheth Githaiga. The Games Tutor was Jeff Kubai an alumni of Kenyatta University. Mr. Jeff Kubai who has a first degree in Sports and a Master’s degree in Psychology created the sports structures in KeMU and his priceless support contributed to the growth of football in KeMU during the formative years. Rehal Satwinder started the KeMU football teams before I took over as the Head Coach in September 2006. Rehal Satwinder would leave later for greener pastures in Philippines.  The football enthusiast is now a Professor associated with the College of Public Health of University of Philippines Manila, and the Department of Sociology of University of Philippines. He still plays his role as a goalkeeper in Manila although now not in the top tier league.

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Supersonic speed: Esse Akida (Jerzy 4) in the COTIF Cup in Spain

There is arguably no University in Kenya and East Africa that has made greater impact in women football than KeMU. Kenyatta University (KU) and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) are two Universities that have competed favorably against KeMU Queens and also deserve a standing ovation for exemplary performance in Kenya University Sports Association (KUSA) games and East Africa University Games (EAUG). A match involving KeMU Queens against KU, MMUST or Makerere University has always proved to be a mouthwatering encounter.  While KU, MMUST and Makerere University have won several University titles on their name, the KeMU Queens have won both titles and the hearts of the fans. KeMU Queens have always displayed aesthetic football and won beautifully. They never won ugly. After all matches the name KeMU has always remained on the lips of ecstatic fans that yearned for more football extravaganza.

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KeMU Captain Tabitha Chegge introduces her team mates in the finals of the Marie Stopes tournament at Kinoru Stadium in Meru. KeMU emerged as the Champions

All Africa University Games on home soil

Kenya hosted the All Africa University Games in July in 2014 at the University of Nairobi. KeMU finished second overall after losing to post match penalties to Makere University of Uganda in the finals. Earlier on in the preliminaries KeMU had beaten Makere University 3-0 and they were too sure they would repeat the same in the finals. In the finals pragmatism beat fantasy as Makere played like a wounded lion hence their triumph. That game was like a movie. Throughout the match KeMU was on the driver’s seat and even lost a penalty in the onset of play. The Queens always believed they would score which was never the case.

East Africa University Games (EAUG)

In 2010 KeMU Queens participated in their first ever EAUG which was hosted by Kenyatta University. The team finished 2nd overall after KU who bagged the gold medal. A splendid display by KeMU was still inevitable despite finishing second and carrying home a silver medal

KeMU Queens participated in the EAUG in 2012 in Dar res salaam University in Tanzania. Here they drew in their first two matches against University of Eldoret and Kenyatta University before losing to Makere University and Kampala University who were the overall winners.

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Simply the best: KeMU Queens at the East Africa University Games in Ugandan Christian University

2014 was a magnificent year for KeMU Queens as they played scintillating football in the EAUG in Uganda. The games were hosted by Uganda Christian University (UCU) in Mukono. This is arguably the best University football team to grace the fields of Uganda in a football tournament for women. The Ugandan fans may for long times never see again the quality of football that the KeMU Queens displayed. This team had chemistry and creativity. The back four of Cate Syprine, Maurine Mukachi, Ernez Mango and the ever green captain Maureen Ater was water tight. Samanther Akinyi had safe hands between the posts.  The midfield trinity of Esther Mazira, Cheris Avilia and Lilian Adera had understanding. None of these three played the same way but they needed each other. While Avilia had a panoramic vision, Adera was excellent defensively whereas Mazira was a great dribbler and scored beautiful goals. Up front the strikers were at their destructive best and wanted to break records. Esse Akida had supernatural speed and finesse and inevitably finished as the tournament’s top scorer with a total of 9 goals.  Neddy Atieno took on defenders with lightning speed and scoring goals was her main strength. Sharon Bushenei had happy feet and shooting power while Mercy Odinga the divine left foot mesmerized the supporters upfront with her footwork mastery. She made things look easy as she beat her opponents at will.  It was not an easy task for the coach to select the starting three upfront.

In the 8-0 thrashing of Eldoret University one of the Ugandan Police officers was so ecstatic that after the match he gave Esse Akida the top scorer of that match a token of unknown cash. The Ugandan fans were so passionate and match attendance was high. Every time fans from the community asked when the KeMU Queens would play. The final match between KeMU and the hosts Ugandan Christian University was well attended by a sizeable crowd. KeMU Queens did not disappoint as they beat UCU 3-0 in front of their fans but nevertheless left them with joy and a story to tell future generations.  When the curtains of the 2014 EAUG came down the KeMU Queens were the undisputed Champions and they had done this in style and   swagger. The best organized East African University Games had been won by perhaps the best team ever.

Kenya University Games (KUSA)

KeMU Queens won their first KUSA National Championship in 2011 at Ruaraka grounds in Nairobi. They did this by beating eternal rivals KU 3-0 in an entertaining final.

During that final match KeMU Queens Captain Tabitha Chegge is remembered for scoring probably the goal of the tournament. After receiving a perfect inch cross from Glory Kinya, she tapped the ball into the corner of the net with a Midas touch using her in foot. The KU goalkeeper would only watch the ball go into the net while the fans would only enjoy the goal. Up to this day I don’t understand if that goal was out of talent or divine power. A lot of genius happened within seconds. The leadership of Tabitha Chegge and Maurine Achieng as captain and vice was remarkable. Maureen was the most experienced player in that team since she went through the MYSA project and participated in the Norway cup in her youthful days. This KeMU team had very dedicated and disciplined players such as Ziporah Njoroge, Emily Gacheri and Hilda Kanyiri (twins), Winnie Wangu, Rhodah Kithinji, Priscilla Wangari, Emalisa, Monicah Karambu, Glory Kinya and Edna Naitore among others. None of the players was more equal than the rest and this created a unified approach to all matches and tournaments.   During the KUSA tournament in Ruaraka an anonymous fan was heard saying “I wish KUSA would allow the KeMU women team to play in the Men’s tournament.” The Queens dazzled the fans and for a while were the talk of the town.

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Mighty KeMU Queens at the Kinoru Stadium in Meru

In 2011 KeMU Queens also won the annual JKUAT sports tournament winners trophy. The team beat all their opponents. They beat the hosts JKUAT in the finals. In JKUAT they were dubbed “the football queens” of Kenya by the fans. They provided joy to the crowds with fluid passing and classic goals. Another anonymous male fan man was heard saying “if you want to watch pure football go watch the KeMU Queens.” After Tabitha Chegge left the captain’s role Ziporah Njoroge was the new captain assisted by Rhodah Kithinji. Next to wear the arm band was Maureen Achieng assisted by Emalisa. Mid 2014 Maureen Ater   was appointed as the captain assisted by Ernez Mango.

In 2015 in JOOUST Bondo, the KeMU Queens won the KUSA football Championship. This was the best assembled KeMU women team and also probably the best University team to ever play in any KUSA tournament. But why were they the best ever? Apart from winning all their FKF Division one league matches and qualifying for the women premier league, this team had 7 players who had donned the national team colors. In this team was the top contender of the goalkeeper’s position of Kenya Samanther Akinyi “Pablo,” Cheris Avilia the jewel in the midfield of Harambee Starlets who would score the historic goal that  propelled Kenya to their first ever Africa Cup of Nations Championship in Limbe Cameroun. In this team there was the top striker of the COTIF Cup in Spain and silver boot winner of the CECAFA Championship in Tanzania Esse Akida. Also in this team was the footwork wizard with superb ball control Mercy Odinga. It was a team with an array of talent.

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KeMU Queens before the KUSA Finals against Eldoret University in JOOUST Bondo.

These football queens swept aside all their opponents in this tournament and beat Eldoret University 4-0 in the final match. Their counterparts the KeMU men team was also in the finals that year and lost to KU on post-match penalties. Present in that final was the Head of Delegation of KeMU Mr. James Kubai Taitumu also the Dean of Students then, Assistant Dean of Students Suzan Laimaru and Jeff Kubai the Games Tutor. These officers applauded the queens for an exemplary performance. Mr. James Kubai had supported the football teams greatly in 2014 and 2015. We all thanked the good Lord for having two KeMU teams in the KUSA finals.

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Quality exposure: KeMU Queens versus Harambee Starlets at Moi International Sports Complex Kasarani. Harambee Starlets won 2-0.

KeMU Queens versus Kenya

In 2016 KeMU Queens played a build up match against Harambee Starlets at Moi International Sports Complex Kasarani. Neddy Atieno and Esse Akida of KeMU scored the all-important goals for the Starlets against their University. It was a great game with KeMU getting a lot of exposure. Playing against a country’s team was never going to be a walk in the park. For KeMU football has been and will always be passion, joy, happiness, education and combat.

KeMU Queens Achievements

Year Tornament Venue Achievement
2010 International Women’s Day Kenyatta University 2nd
2011 KUSA Nationals Ruaraka Winners
2011 JKUAT Annual sports Day JKUAT Winners
2011 Safaricom Sakata Ball Championship Machakos 2nd
2011 Marie stopes Football Tournament Meru Winners
2012 East Africa University Games Dar res Salam University Preliminaries
2013 Kenyatta University Cultural Week Kenyatta University Winners
2014 Africa University Games UoN 2nd
2014 East Africa University Games Uganda Winners
2014 Egerton University Anuual Sports Day Egerton 2nd
2014 Kenyatta University Cultural Week Kenyatta University 2nd
2014 FKF Division One League Various venues Winners
2015 FKF Women Premier League Tournament Nakuru Winners
2015 KUSA Nationals JOOUST- Bondo Winners
2015 International Women’s Day Africa Nazarine University Winners
2016 DSTV Supercup (Played before Gor Versus  Bandari DSTV Supercup finals Mombasa Winners

 

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