Top 50 Greatest Women Footballers In Kenya

By Hillary Mukasa

 GOALKEEPERS

Rosemary Aluoch

Her love for the game is something else. She was very aggressive and with good communication between the posts. The legendary goalkeeper was known as ‘Mara’ short form of Maradona by her peers when she started playing as a number 10. She discovered she was better at saving balls than scoring them.

Pauline Atieno

The Harambee Starlets powerhouse goalkeeper that’s very aggressive and always ready to die for the team. Good ball distribution and very good in one on one situations. Popularly known as ‘Master’

Samantha Akinyi

A modern day goalkeeper with happy feet hence comfortable with back passes. Good ball distribution and reads the game well.  Samantha the complete goalkeeper proved an enigma to most Kenyan managers on whether to leave her out or build the team around her when aptitude and attitude were far from equal partners.

Veronica Achieng

The Leader on the pitch and off it boosted of good flight and thrived in one on one situation. She was the Team Manager of Harambee Starlets before Doreen Nabwire took over.

Miseta Waweru

Miseta is the type of very agile goalkeeper’s and good in reading the game during matches. She has always been a safe pair of hands at Spedag FC in the Kenya Women Premier League (KWPL).

Vivian Aluoch

Vivian is confident between the posts with good flight and power in her feet.  She played in the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Cameroun and is an identical twin to defender Sharon Aluoch

DEFENDERS

Dorcas Shikobe

Shikobe was the guiding force behind a water tight defense when she captained a youthful Harambee Starlets to an unprecedented CECAFA Championship in Tanzania in 2019. After a classy performance, the invincible Harambee Starlets scored a total of 24 goals and conceded none.

Terry Ouko

Nicknamed ‘Puyol’ because of her combative defending, Terry is a trained journalist and an avid sports writer in the mainstream media. She is also in charge of communications at KEFWA and previously worked at Moving The Goalpost (MTG). She knows too well there is life after football and she is making hay while the sun is shining.

Wendy Achieng

The ever outstanding Harambee Starlets Captain that has been an inspiration possesses sublime skills in ball control, passing and dribbling. Kenya’s specialist left back with the ability to read the game like a book. Is one of the most technically gifted player to have played for the National team in its glory days.

Irene Ogutu

No nonsense defender with a combination of hard tackles, speed and prowess in aerial duels. In summary she has been the ‘Berlin’ wall of Harambee Starlets. Together with Shikobe they formed a formidable defensive pairing at Harambee Starlets.

Elizabeth Ambogo

The right fullback has been a mainstay in the Harambee Starlets squad of the golden era in women football. Highly skilled and gifted, she has been proud to don the national colors.

Juliet Auma

Juliet is a dead ball specialist with a strong right foot that can play long balls. Short  but good in defending aerial balls.

Doris Anyango

Gifted with an effective left foot, she has always proved to be a very tough defender to beat and has represented the Nation in the beautiful game of football.

Lilian Adera

The utility player who can also play effectively in midfield possesses the qualities of tight marking, good positioning at the back, accurate passes and can deliver desired crosses.

Maureen Ater

Technically gifted and possesses speed. Happy feet and is a very versatile player. She was the Captain “Marvelous” of the invincible KeMU Queens team. Whatever the kick-off time, and whatever weather, KeMU Queens were natural winners.  Under her captainship in 2014 to 2016 the queens conquered in University competitions in Kenya, East Africa and Africa. They won everything that could be won.

Starting lineup of the KeMU team was composed of Samantha Akinyi, Maurine Mukachi, Enez Mango, Kate Syprine, Maurine Ater, Lilian Adera, Esther Mazira, Cheris Avilia, Mercy Odinga, Esse Akida, Neddy Atieno/Sharon Bushenei. Success followed Maureen Ater at her next stop at a very organized Vihiga Queens.

Night Lugalya

She played in the early years when there was very minimum support for women football in the country.  It’s no longer that way. The highly aggressive player with immense speed became a referee after hanging her boots.

Ann Aluoch

She has always demonstrated great leadership on and off the pitch. Commonly known as “Aunty” she captained Harambee Starlets in the AWCON campaign.  As a defender she is aggressive with astonishing energy. After a glittering playing career she was appointed as the Assistant Coach of the Harambee Starlets U-20 team.

Roseline Anyango

Roseline was the type of ruthless and tough defenders to beat. During their playing days in the National team they were coached by the likes of Habil Nanjero, Sylvester Ochola and Eric Owiti. Habil Nanjero is one of the pioneers in Kenyan women football.

Seline Achieng

 The defender was versatile and would play as a left fullback or an offensive player. Among the pioneer players in women football she delivered perfect inch crosses and scored a lot of goals. May her soul rest in eternal peace and we hope she still entertains soccer fans up there.

Elizabeth Mwikali

When Harambee Starlets qualified for the first time in the AWCON the celebration was with volcanic passion. Elizabeth Mwikali   a superbly versatile player for Harambee Starlets played as a center back in the Cameroun tourney.

MIDFIELDERS

Doreen Nabwire

It is a long route from the humble Mathare United women football club to the Bundesliga women club Werder Bremen that is in the charming city in Germany popular for its fantastic nature, and be crowned best player in the team and second best player in the league. Kenya’s first woman professional player Doreen Nabwire did it in Werder Bremen in her first season. One of the most revered midfielder in Kenya also played pro-football for 1 FC Koln in Germany and FC Zwolle in the Netherlands.

 In the draw for the 2010 World Cup that was held in Durban South Africa, Doreen was the Kenyan representative among other world great icons like South African President Thabo Mbeki, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Franz  ‘The Kaiser ’Backenbauer, Abedi Pele Ayew, Marcel Dessaily, Lucas Radebe, Christian Karembeu and George Weah.

Corazone Aquino

Such was an amazing progress from the former Olympic High School iconic teenager that it was hard to think of a Harambee Starlets team without her. Her best moment was when they beat Algeria on goal aggregate to qualify for the AWCON while her worst moment was losing to Tanzania in the CECAFA Championship in 2016. “My role models in football are Florence Adhiambo and Doreen Nabwire”. The prodigious goal scorer proudly reveals.  After a superlative performance the former Gaspo youth and Vihiga Queens player got the golden opportunity to join Portuguese top tier side Atletico Quiriense.

Sheryl Angachi                                                                         

“My greatest moment in Harambee Starlets is when we won the CECAFA Championship in Tanzania in 2019 and when I was named as the best midfielder in the Turkish Women Tournament”. She says these achievements with happiness without arrogance. Coach David Ouma, a bonafide coach has always ensured wherever players come from, they all try to speak the same language on the pitch.

Martha Karimi

Martha Karimi defied her parents’ idea not to let her play football and they later became her number one fans after a splendid performance in the Norway Cup in 1999. When the former Harambee Starlets player joined Zwolle women football team in Holland she became one of the pioneer professional women footballers from East Africa. After her super playing career she transitioned smoothly into coaching. Among her credentials are KNVB training in South Africa and Holland, UEFA C- Coaching license in Holland, FIFA certified instructor attached to FKF and a member of KNVB World Coaches.

Cheris Avilia

If she had achieved nothing else in her playing career, the goal against Algeria on Tuesday 12th April 2016 earned her a place in the Kenyan football’s hall of fame. Avilia would not have played in that match if Coach David Ouma would not have brought her in as a sub-but he did and the rest is history. Kenya qualified for her maiden AWCON. It is at the Moi Sports Center Kasarani Stadium that Cheris Avilia will always be cherished. After being second overall in her primary school in the KCPE she improved by being the best overall student in KCSE at Nile Road Secondary School. At KeMU, the midfielder with a panoramic vision and a midas touch translated her performance on the pitch into class by getting an exceptionally good GPA.

Read Cherise ‘Maestro’ Avilia

Christine Nafula

Very skillful with an eye for goal and thrives in combination play. It is very challenging for a female footballer when Eric Johanna Omondi, Felix Oucho and Antony Khadudu are your brothers. It becomes even more challenging when Doreen Nabwire is your sister. Christine, the fantastic player from the football dynasty played for Swedish club Dalhem IF in 2018 and 2019.

Winnie Kanyotu

Gifted with a   great touch, she is a lethal goal poacher who gives defenders head aches and heart aches. Her high vision, good passing and distribution of the ball has made her one of the pillars in the Gaspo team in the KWPL.

Martha Amnyolete

The former Wiyeta High School player wore the Captains arm band for one of Kenya’s greatest football schools in the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) football Championship. She is blessed with technique and is good in shooting. Her right foot is as good as her left foot and scores goals at the slightest opportunities making her a key player of Tranzoia Falcons FC in the KWPL.

Tabaka Chacha

Very industrious in midfield and played a key role in Kenya’s qualification in the AWCON in 2016. The player with brilliant ball handling skills has her name cemented in women football history in Kenya.

Florence Adhiambo

Florence Adhiambo occupies a special place in the hearts of Kenyan football fans. Known as ‘Duah’ by many the amazingly gifted midfielder played for league Champions Eastlanders. She scored spectacular goals and played alongside stellar names such as Julia Omusula, Mary ‘Busu’ Adhiambo and Doreen ‘Dodo’ Nabwire. She broke the glass ceiling when she was appointed to coach both the U-17 and U-20 Harambee Starlets teams. Her name will live long in the football memory of Kenyans.

Mercy Achieng

Scored for Kenya against Swaziland in the 2017 COSAFA Championship and donned the National colors in Limbe, Cameroon for the AWCON in 2016. Mercy was one of the Key players for the ever green Thika Queens in the KWPL successful campaign.

Jackline Ogol

A dead ball specialist and technically gifted player with abundant skills, she was a product of the UNICEF/Ministry of Youth and Sports initiative sponsored National Youth Talent Academy (NYTA). She has been a mainstay in Spedag FC in the KWPL.

Bertha Omita

Bertha played a pivotal role in Kisumu All Starlets campaign for the KWPL and scored goals whenever she got the opportunities and this led to call ups for national duty on numerous occasions.

Mercy Airo

She became an undisputed Champion of the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom National finals with Plateau Queens. While playing for Kisumu All Starlets in the   KWPL she was the runners up in the chase for the ‘Golden’ boot in 2019. Gaspo signed her after the stunning performance. “My best moment is getting a chance to represent my country in International assignments like the CECAFA Championship”. Mercy Airo treasures wearing the red and white jersey embedded with a shield.

Caroline Anyango

Shifted from defense to midfield on arriving at Harambee Starlets, Caroline Anyango is greatly versatile. She has fitted perfectly as a fullback, center back and as a defensive midfielder.  “Coach Joel Achola (lule) encouraged me to play football as a youth at Mbotela Kamaliza Eaglets while Doreen Nabwire was my role model.” The highly gifted Caroline Anyango points out.

Mary Adhiambo

Mary Adhiambo, nicknamed ‘Busu’ in her childhood days is a true football legend in Kenyan football. Lanky and versatile as a player she was slow but sure and a good passer. “My first call up to Harambee Starlets was in 1994 against Uganda’s She –Cobs. Playing against Cameroun in the AFCON qualifiers in 2006 was my toughest match since it was our first time while Cameroun was already established”. These are the words from the ultimate leader. In her youth she was coached by names such as Habil Nanjero, Sylvester Ochola, George Aladwa, and Eric Owiti. She became the Assistant Coach of Harambee Starlets after her beautiful playing career was over.

FORWARDS

Teresa Engesha

Her superb shot from a distance stunned rivals Equatorial Guinea into submission during the AWCON qualifier at Machakos’s Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on June 6 2018. The Vihiga Queens forward under Coach Alex Alumira was the golden boot winner in the 2019 KWPL with 36 goals. The terrific and unique striker played professional football for Swedish club Dalhem IF.

Esse Akida

The pinnacle of Esse Akida’s football career was neither her golden boot award in the COTIF Cup in Spain, nor her finishing 2nd top scorer in the UNICEF sponsored KWPL  one behind Millicent Mwanzi of Old is Gold, nor her Silver boot in the CECAFA Championship in Tanzania one behind Hasifa Nassuna of Uganda, nor the joint golden boot award in the 2016 KWPL with Mary Kinuthia, nor was it the first ever goal for Kenya in the AWCON she scored against Ghana, nor winning the Sports Journalist Association of Kenya award (SJAK)Presidents Award. The Harambee Starlets all-time top scorer achieved her football dream when she joined Turkish giants Besiktas. Previously she had played for Ramat Hasharon FC of Israel after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from KeMU. If the Brazil women national team had Marta, Harambee Starlets of Kenya had Esse Akida.

Read Esse Akida

Mwanahalima Adam

Known as ‘Dogo’ because of her small frame she burst into fame and became the new kid on the block when she posted a string of brilliant performances on the pitch making her became an automatic choice for Coach David Ouma. ‘Dogo’ the football diamond made in Mombasa by Coach Joseph Oyoo was a student at St John’s Kaloleni and played for Mombasa Olympics. It was not a surprise when she was crowned as the most Promising Girl of the year at the annual Sport Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) at KICC on January 19, 2017. What she lacked in physic, she more than made up with speed, technique, great decision making, urgency to win back the ball and scoring classic goals. “My greatest moment was qualifying for the 2016 AWCON and clinching the CECAFA Championship in 2019”. ‘Dogo’ recalls these landmark moments nostalgically. After a successful season with Thika Queens, one of the brightest stars in Kenyan women football got an opportunity to play professional football for Swedish women top league side Djugardens IF.

Neddy Atieno

 Sensational athlete, so fast, will to win, dribbling skills, delivering accurate crosses, shooting ability and pressuring her defenders are all strengths that the former St Teresa Tartar Queen and Harambee Starlets  forward is endowed with. Neddy scored a beautiful solo goal against the young She-polopolo in the U-20 qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup in 2012. In the 2017 COSAFA Championship in Zimbabwe she scored a hat trick against Mozambique in a 5-2 win. She followed the hat trick with 4 goals against the hapless Mauritius who were crushed 11-0 by Harambee Starlets under experienced Coach Richard Kanyi. Neddy was recruited as a soldier in the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and appointed the Captain of Ulinzi Starlets a sister club of Ulinzi Stars.

Sharon Bushenei

Technically good, ability to shoot with both feet and goal scoring are the strengths of Sharon Bushenei. She was a star at Itigo Girls High School that has been KSSSA football Champions. She graduated from KeMU with a Bachelor’s of Business Information Technology degree. Played for Matuu FC and Spedag in the KWPL.

Mural Mulama

A football trickster who dribbled a lot, very skillful in crossing the ball and a free kick specialist is the other meaning of Mural. “Kuna kanzu alipiga player wa Zambia Kwa touchline aka connect dabo hadi bao. Mpaka sasa hatujapata player mwingine Kama yeye.” Cheris Avilia explains how Mural scored a fantastic goal against a  young She-polopolo defender of Zambia after beating her stylishly with the ball over her head on the touch line and fired a rasping shot which the goalkeeper could only watch and the fans could only admire as it got into the net. After a serious injury in Makueni County in the inter-County games Mural would never regain her top form again.

Mary Kinuthia

Fondly known as ‘Toto’, ‘Mary Kinuthia began winning silverware at a young age when Wiyeta Girls High School was crowned (KSSSA) Champions in 2008. Her dazzling brilliances required recognition and she was called up to play in the Kenya Under-20 team while in form two. International recognition had come earlier in 2006/7 when she was the MVP in the East and Central Africa Tournament. Mary Kinuthia was peerless in the 2011 Sakata ball Na Safaricom Championship when she caught Kenya’s attention and was undisputedly the MVP both at Nairobi and National level. In 2016 the accolades kept coming when playing for the mighty Thika Queens she was the joint KWPL Golden boot winner with Spedag’s Esse Akida. “Having played alongside Mary Kinuthia I consider her the G.O.A.T in Kenyan football.” Terry Ouko gives a testimony on Mary Kinuthia. The spectacular Mary Kinuthia played professional football for Swedish club Dalhem IF alongside Christine Nafula and Teresa Engesha. She will remain an eternal legend for the country for what she has achieved.

Read Mary ‘Toto’ Kinuthia

Phoebe Oketch

A cocktail of strength, speed, powerful shots from any angle, endurance par excellence is what composes the Vihiga Queens forward who can strike from right, left center. Both of her feet deliver in equal measures.

Cynthia Shilwatso

The Vihiga Queens forward would not travel for the Turkish Women Tournament with Harambee Starlets to allow her complete her move to Spanish top tier team EDF Logrono. Shilwatso is gifted with the ability to use both feet effectively, score from long range and brilliantly shield the ball.

Julia Omusula

The best way to describe her is a very lethal striker with the aim of scoring as many goals as possible. A forward so wonderful in positioning herself upfront and making dummy runs. She played for Makolanders and Harambee Starlets and scoring goals is what she is best remembered for. Whenever and wherever the attacking trinity of Julia Omusula, Salome Oketch and Janet Mukuhi donned the National team jersey the goals kept coming. They scored whenever they could.

Elizabeth Wambui

The girl with lightning speed was a key member of Olympics High School when they caused havoc in the KSSSA women soccer games. With her combination of skill and pace she is a menace to opposing defenders and one of the fastest players to play for the national team. The Gaspo player was in the Kenyan under -20 team that eliminated the Black Queens of Ghana from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.

Jentrix Shikangwa

Jentrix Shikangwa, are two words that send shivers through any opposing defenders she plays against, be it locally or internationally. When Jentrix Shikangwa scored 10 goals to bag the golden boot in the 2019 CECAFA Championships it was obvious that she was special. When Harambee Starlets beat Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Queens 2-0 in the finals at Chamazi Stadium in Dar es Saalam, super sub Jentrix Shikangwa scored a brace. Who else. The Wiyeta Girls High School and Vihiga Queens wonder girl inspired the Harambee Starlets to their maiden CECAFA triumph and how they won it can be described by just one word-REMARKABLE. She scored the lone goal that eliminated the Black Queens of Ghana from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for a historic win. “I am proud to have played for Harambee Starlets at a young age and crowned a CECAFA Champion and Golden boot winner in 2019 in Tanzania”. She can’t really find a suitable adjective to describe her success.

Salome Oketch

Salome was a hard worker on the pitch and always present to scoring opportunities. She believed in team spirit while donning the National team colors and playing for Makolanders under coach Habil Nanjero. After football she got greener pastures and lives in the USA.

Janet Mukhui

She was aggressive, strong, hardworking and full of surprises. Apart from the National team she played for Mathare United women FC and Makolanders.  She is deceased and may be gone but not forgotten.

3 thoughts on “Top 50 Greatest Women Footballers In Kenya

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