Within four years Vihiga Queens have stamped their authority in the league
After winning the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Division One women’s league in 2015 to make a debut in the top tier women’s league, Kenyan Women’s Premier League (KWPL) in 2016, Vihiga Queens have never looked back.
In their debut season in the top league, the ‘Legacy Makers’ as the team is fondly known, defied all odds to finish second behind champions and heavyweights of the league at the time, Thika Queens.
The runners-up feat served as a benchmark for the new comers in their top flight journey as they went on to win the league the following season in their second attempt in 2017.
That was, however, not all they had in store, as they also completed a double in 2018 before achieving what no other team has done since the KWPL was founded in 2010, winning the league title for the third time in a row in 2019.
According to the team’s head coach Alex Alumira, winning the premier league in 2017 during their second season in the league was remarkable, but winning the league thrice unchallenged, is something special to him and the entire Vihiga Queens family.
But Alumira, who was preparing his team for a fourth straight title hunt this year, before the league was halted following the outbreak of coronavirus in the country in March, says hard work, believing in young players, understanding their ambitious dreams and finding a way to balance their high expectations and real life in football, has been their secret in dominating the Kenyan Women’s Premier League in the past three years.
“I’m an ardent fan of youngsters because they come raw and fresh in mind like a formatted flash disk ready for content.
At this stage, they are eager to learn and are very energetic. It is now up to you (coach) to mould them into this fine product that people will appreciate,” said Alumira in an exclusive interview with People Sport.
Alumira understands very well, how these young girls are vulnerable at this tender age and offers this advice to those handling girls’ teams with very young players, saying that once you know the trick of how to handle them, success is bound to be immense as you unleash greatness out of their untapped talent.
“At this stage, they are very fragile and any mishandling both on and off the pitch breaks them down completely.
But to me, I like this stage where you deal with delicate people and make steel out of them. Pedagogy and psychology come in handy,” he says.
To build a winning mentality in the team, Alumira believes having strong- willed young squad and mixed with few experienced players, is recipe for any unbeaten team in any championship.
“Young players are fragile mentally as I have said, and they also need a few experienced players to blend with, so that their mental side is built from seeing and working with those who have been there and seen it.
Because some come with very high expectations and it is my duty to lower their expectations to meet the reality and then raise their performance to meet their expectations,” says Alumira, adding that the expectations of a 13-year-old girl match those of a 19-year-old boy. “I like a 60 to 40 kind of blend of youth and experience.”
Vihiga Queens, which was only formed in 2014, has risen quickly to stardom, surpassing their expectations after winning four trophies in five league seasons, their first one being the FKF Division 1 in 2015 when they earned promotion to top women league and three more trophies between 2017 and 2019 in KWPL, leaving coach Alumira who believes in Dutch football philosophy of patient build up, yearning for more.