Arena artificial turf in Nyali was a beehive of sporting activity on Saturday 15th this October. Hosting the highly anticipated Breast cancer tournament, the tournament attracted ladies’ teams from far and wide. Boasting a mixture of professional and amateur groups,there was a fun and competitive atmosphere.
The tournament was played in two categories; the amateur tournament for women who had never played football prior on any professional level and the professional wing which comprised of women who have featured at higher levels, 12 teams including: Soroptomist, Pad a Dada, Dauntless, CBO, Kazandani ladies, Mombasa Super Ladies, Creative Divas ,Yellow Soccer Divas, Rotaract ladies, Red Soccer Divas, Moving the Goal Posts, and Mombasa ladies gracing the event.
The amateur category was won by the Red Soccer Divas while the professional category trophy was clenched by Mombasa Super Ladies who beat Red Soccer Divas in post-match penalties. Organized on a 7-a-side basis, some top notch, mouthwatering skills was on display earning the players rave reviews from the excited fans.
The tournament, in partnership with Soccer Divas was proudly sponsored by Kings Premium Water made sure the winners walked away with glittering trophies and medals. The tournament’s main agenda was brought to life by the partnership of Gertrude’s Hospital and Family Health who made it possible for women to have free breast cancer and cervical screening at the venue. They also gave talks about breast cancer and the need to have regular checkups. A motivational talk by one of the breast cancer survivors Hamida left women encouraged and inspired to take their health seriously. Hamida represented the Breast Cancer Support Group which gives support to women diagnosed with cancer.
Hon. Racheal Musyoki, The Minister of Health in the Kilifi County government and Esther Ingolo a Director within the Ministry of Youth Gender and Sports in Mombasa County were in attendance.
The Pada a Dada team was recognized for using their group to give out sanitary pads to young girls within their community. All captains of the twelve teams were awarded with medals. Individual brilliance was not left out as several players were also rewarded by medals, Top Scorer Amateur tournament was Beatrice Otieno from Red Soccer Divas with three goals while the Top Scorer Professional Tournament was Veronica from Mombasa Super ladies with three goals. The youngest player of the tournament was Afraa Mpaata 11 years from Red Soccer Divas while the oldest player of the tournament was Mududa Waweru 53 years from Soroptomist.
The Soccer Divas events organizing committee led by Esther Njimbi and Waridi Koki Rading encouraged women to join the soccer divas for training in preparation for next year’s big event, after observing that the tournament had brought a staggering 250 women together to create more awareness about breast cancer.
Mariam Mpaata, the founder of Soccer Divas encouraged women to continue working together to in order to tackle issues affecting them. She further called upon women to use their creativity and talents to fill up gaps within their communities. Mariam also doubles up as the goalkeeper and captain of the Soccer Divas.
The Soccer Divas Club in Mombasa is the first female amateur football club in Kenya. The club is hardly two years and has broken the record as one of the best female teams in Mombasa, proving that women too can take up a sport and excel despite all odds. The women mostly between the ages of 16 to 60 play football for exercise, fun, and networking. They use the same platform to support issues affecting women and children.