The women league has seen more involvement. Ellen Busolo talks to Sharon Bushenei in this week's Kenyanstar of the Week.
Name: Sharon Bushenei
D.O.B: 7th june 1994
Best Meal: Pilau/minced meat and rice
How long have you been playing football?
I have been playing football since when I was a child; I would go out with my elder brother and play with his boys. I however, started playing competitive football since high school and even represented my school at the national level.
What position did you first play and what clubs have you played for?
I have always been a striker or should i say a forward for all the teams i have played in. Previously, I have played for Spedag FC in Mombasa and last year, (2012); I played for Matuu FC where we won the women’s league.
What is your favourite Jersey number?
My favourite jersey no.is 11.
Who is your favourite female player in the world and Why?
Definitely, Abby Wambach of USA. She’s a lethal forward and currently stands as the second highest all time goal scorer in USA women's national soccer team after Mia Hamm who’s retired. (Catching up with Mia)
Where do you train from when you are not training with the team?
When I am not training with the team i train with the boys around my home area.
The League is about to kick off, do you feel prepared for the competition?
At the moment I am not in a team because the future of the women’s league was uncertain after the end of last year’s season. I have however been training but not with a team, but now that am sure the league will be there I will be joining a team.
The number of teams in the league has been increased from last year’s 12 to 16 teams. How is this, a good thing for the women’s league?
The increment of women’s team to 16 is good for the women's league because it now means more women are involved in competitive football and more talents are going to be discovered for our national team thus improving the women football standard in Kenya.
Have you ever played for the national team?
Yes i have played for the U20 national team..
How was the experience of representing your country at the national level for you? It felt good representing my country; there is an overwhelming feeling when the national anthem is being played and you being the reason behind it. Its an honour to play for my country and couldn’t be more proud of myself
Which countries did you play against? We played against Lesotho home and away; Zambia home and away, and finally Tunisia home and away.
How can you compare Kenya’s talent to the other African countries?
There is talent in Kenya, though what we lack is exposure and the opportunity to play more matches against other countries. It is also really hard to get the attention from FKF (Football Kenya Federation) to women football here in Kenya.
Is qualifying for World cup 2015 a possibility this time around?
To tell you the truth it will be impossible for us to qualify for world cup 2015 without proper preparation and more attention from the FKF, because they tend to ignore women football so much here in Kenya. They should try harder and offer us with more chances and opportunities to compete in international matches.
What is your best moment in your career thus far?
The best moment in my career has got to be when i first scored my first international goal for my country against Lesotho in front of my home crowd at Nyayo stadium.
What club would you like to play for in the future (locally & internationally)?
The club i would like to play for locally in future is my first club spedag fc; and internationally that would be Western New York Flash because it’s the club that the best player 2012; Abby wambach plays for and it will be an honour to play in one team with her.
What are some of the challenges ladies face in Kenya in this sport?
Some of our main problems are:
Discouragement from parents; most parents think its a waste of time for a girl to play football, of which to some extent it’s true but still i think its always good to give it a shot.
Discrimination especially from the federation (FKF); they tend to ignore women football and put more effort on the men’s team and league only.
Women football is getting recognized in the world, what can FKF do to ensure we are not left behind?
They should offer us; that is the Kenyan Women players more chances to prove that we can also play better just like the men. They should involve us more in the tournaments that are always held internationally.
For women since football is not a pro sport, most players depend on a second career for livelihood. What is your other career? How does this affect your training regime?
I was in college studying a diploma in business administration but deferred it for a while and now i am going back to continue with my studies. Yes, it always affects my training regime since i have to balance between studies and matches sometimes i miss training because of my classes.
There are a lot of upcoming female footballers who are looking up to the existing players for inspiration. What do you do to ensure you have the motivation and inspiration to pass down to them?
All i can do for the younger players is to keep the fire burning make sure that i train hard, focus on my talent so that i can be a better player and in future be a role model to them.
Who would you like to appreciate that has inspired your football career?
I would like to appreciate my mother who has always been an inspiration to me. She used to be a player as well (a volleyballer) and she would travel a lot. I would always say to myself that someday i will be just like her. She has always supported me as a player like the national match against Tunisia she came all the way from Mombasa just to watch me play at nyayo stadium. I am always grateful for having a mother like her.
What is your parting shot to the upcoming younger players?
I would like to let them know that they have a God given talent and they should use it to the best of their ability. They should never give up on this beautiful game because i know it comes with a lot of challenges. I would also like to tell them to work hard in school because one does not play football forever, there comes a time when age will catch up with you and be forced to retire and that is when books come in.