Arijana: Kenya has the potential to grow women football from the grassroots

The FIFA Football Development Manager-Women’s Football Division Arijana Demirovic sees a lot of potential to effectively grow women football from the grassroots level in Kenya. This comes in the wake of a FIFA pilot project aimed at establishing youth structures in the country, Kenya being the only selected African country.

Giving her remarks at Sirikwa Hotel in Eldoret, which is hosting the ongoing Leadership and Governance training, Arijana lauded the efforts and steps made so far in regards to development of women football.

Potential

“Kenya has a great potential which we have seen in the past six months that we have worked with the federation. We come here on the ground to see the work that has been done and share what we are planning to do in the future.

This is the fifth capacity building course and we are believers that the people who take part in the training are already part of the legacy in growing the women’s game. They will be coaching the children, leading the organizations either on the regional or club level so we are very happy with the progress so far,” Arijana explained.

Arijana Demirovic (right) posing for a photo with the Deputy FKF President Doris Petra and FIFA Instructor Carl Lines during the Leadership and Governance training in Eldoret.

Normally, selection of junior teams is done during school games after which players are hosted at a central venue to undergo a selection process. However, with this project, Under 13 and Under 15 sides will be initiated to ease the burden of having to do selections, but rather scout systematically from existing league structures.

Proper scouting

“This is only the first stage of the project, after which we will look into ways of growing the game from the bottom up, to make sure that when the time comes and there are several junior national teams then the talent is scouted in a proper way since every girl has access to football and that teams come from there other than a selection-based criterion based on names,” she continued.

The question lingering in many people’s minds would probably be, what next after the first phase? The good news is safe guarding for the junior players will be a key component in terms of ensuring they not only have access to proper playing surfaces and equipment but also access to education as the project will mainly run in schools, clubs and sport for development organizations.

Access to education

“Now that the trained coaches already have teams in place, we would like to see what the next steps will be for them. We now want to see into it that they have the right equipment, training in the right grounds and also have access to education,” added Arijana.

In addition to the 45 women undergoing the leadership training, Over 120 coaches and 40 referees have been previously trained in the ongoing project.