Vihiga confident of WPL fourth back-to-back title
Three-time Women Premier League (WPL) champions Vihiga Queens could still be the team to beat even as the league reverts to the zonal format as they have maintained the core of their winning squad ahead of the league anticipated kick off on November 28.
After losing only one player, Cynthia Shilwatso, who had already joined her new home in Spain, the champions had already roped in her replacement long before she left.
Coach Alex Alumira signed Ugandan International Joan Nabirye in February in anticipation of the league that was kicking off in March.
Nabirye, a holding midfielder, joined the star-studded Vihiga from Uganda premier league side Asubo Gafford Ladies. The youngster was scouted during last year’s CECAFA championship in Tanzania.
“During last year’s Cecafa, there was a strong indication of Shilwatso’s exit and we had to get ready for such a predicament.
Nabirye’s quality ticked all the boxes we had for the replacement of a player of Shilwatso’s calibre and we immediately began talks.
She has been in the country since March and has been going through the same training as the rest of the team albeit at a personal level,” said Alumira.
The holders are set to begin training in small groups next week, just in case the country does not open up for contact sports before then.
The new fixtures have pitted Vihiga against Wadadia, SEP Oyugis, Oserian and Eldoret Falcons in their first four fixtures before the Christmas and new year’s break.
“We have tricky fixtures to begin the season with. These are teams that have maintained their squads and with an exception of Oyugis, the rest have gained experience playing in the top flight.
The entrants also have a point to prove something we will need to prepare well before the league starts,” added Alumira.
In addition to Nabirye, Vihiga had acquired the services of utility player Christabel Odeya from Kisumu All Starlets, fifteen year old Sumeiya Hamisi, a form one student at Madira Girls in Vihiga and Bridgit Muhonja, who completed her high school at Mudavadi Girls.
“We have kept close ranks with Hamisi since 2017 when she was in class six as we could not sign her at the time due to age restrictions.
She can play as an attacking midfielder and as a striker while Muhonja plays in the latter position.
Since the two do not have experience playing in a league this competitive, we have to be careful with how we orient them.
They are good players and we will not put them under pressure.