When the first Inter County Sports Tournament in Kenya was held in Laikipia County in Nanyuki from 27th April to 1st May 2015, few people knew about the Meru County women football team before the competition kicked off but after the week long tournament the name “Meru County” was on the lips of everyone. This was probably the most competitive tournament of all the editions that have so far taken place and the sole reason is the fact that it assembled together the richest talents all over the country.
With the scouts selecting the cream in the 8 wards and a brilliant boost of 6 KeMU players who featured for Harambee Starlets Meru County destined to be forever remembered for winning the first ever Inter County Championship in the women category. The team was highly motivated with brand new Uniforms, track suits and playing balls. This is arguably by far the greatest women football team ever assembled in the County.
How they did it
In the first match they sent Nyeri County crushing to the earth by beating them 7-0. This team team knew too well that goals are the most important in a match. In the second match they humbled Makueni County 7-0. With every goal Meru County scored, they came closer to winning the coveted trophy. Meru County play was matchless and they attracted because of their exuberance, confidence and stylishness. Guess who were the opponents in the quarter finals. An excellent team from Kakamega County the home of football. This time round Meru County did what football needed and that was scoring 3 goals against nothing. It was a tough match and each player lost about 5kg. The match was played at the 10 Engineers barracks in Nanyuki and the soldiers turned up in huge numbers to enjoy themselves with a football treat.
As the tournament proceeded the undisputed football queens from Meru County became the favorite team of every ‘neutral’ football fan and a guaranteed ‘full house’ wherever they played. The semi finals was against a very gifted team from Kajiado County. It was an incredible game played with flair and imagination. Meru County emerged as the victors in the mouth watering match by winning 2-0.
The final match was the mother of all battles. The hosts, a star studded Laikipia County versus a Meru County team that played beautiful football with swagger brought the curtains down.Nanyuki Stadium was full to optimum and the fans never regretted why they had come to the stadium. The capacity filled stadium reminded me of the nostalgic years when the Kenyan stadiums attracted mammoth crowds especially in the derbies between arch rivals Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards. Chants of “ AFC,AFC,AFC and Gor biro Yawneo were all over the stadium. This particular story is about the first Inter County Championship in Laikipia County and not the glory days of Kenyan football. The tough match ended in a 0-0 draw at regular time.
Meru County won 5-4 in a tense penalty shoot out. “Master,”the Laikipia County goalkeeper of Harambee Starlets was not lucky to save any of the penalties as they were all taken with precission.
She had saved a penalty taken by Meru County in regular time and denied Meru the lead. Esse Akida of Meru County was the heroine of heroines as she emerged as the top scorer with a total of 9 goals. She was all about goals in the tournament.
After the finals jubilant fans danced all over the stadium. The Meru County Director of Sports Karuiki Nderitu and other Sports personalities from the county were more than pleased to receive the glittering trophy.