Sunday 22 October 2023, 22:00

Important milestones in the development of women's football in Kenya

  • As part of FIFA's Women's Development Programme, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) conducted various workshops

  • Among others, for physiotherapists and focus on club licensing

  • Financial sustainability of women's football clubs a key topic

The FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, and in July 2021, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) unveiled its own strategy, heralding a new era for women's football.

Now the FKF has taken the initiative to hold various workshops as part of FIFA’s Women's Development Programme. Among other areas, there is a focus on club licensing and capacity building for physiotherapists working in the women’s game.

The workshops hosted in Kenya were designed to upskill physiotherapists working with clubs in the FKF Women's Premier League (FKF WPL) and the FKF Women's National Super League (FKF WNSL). The objective is to ensure that players have access to professionally trained physiotherapists who can provide comprehensive care, including assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries.

“I recently came from Kenya where I was conducting a physio workshop. I think I would put that up as a perfect example of female athlete health being safeguarded. Because here is a Federation, here is the women's football division making the conscious effort that we are going to train our physiotherapists, that we are going to train the people who take care for our women athletes in aspects of women’s health,” said Dr Nonhlanhla Mkumbuzi, who spoke about gender differences, hormones, nutrition, hydration and recovery.

“We don’t take it for granted that they know. We don’t take it for granted that they find the information. But making that conscious effort of prepping and capacitating their medics, that the people who manage female athletes with education and female athlete’s health, I think that is commendable in allowing them the space and allowing the opportunity to have that education.”

A few days later, the federation also organised the first club licensing workshop for the FKF Women Premier League clubs for the 2023/24 season. The three-day workshop brought together officials from the 12 clubs who were given an overview of the club licensing process, particularly the legal, infrastructure, youth, financial and administrative criteria that clubs will have to meet in the future.

The aim of this workshop was not only to enhance professionalisation at club level, but also to ensure that clubs can improve their sporting infrastructure, economic and financial performance.

“Vihiga Queens got exposed to club Licensing in 2021. We are glad to be the club with the richest heritage in East Africa. At the time of the CAF Champions League for Women, we had professional players in our club. Around the same time, we had to transfer many women to Europe. I think we are the only club that has women players playing in Europe. To date we have over ten players who play abroad and are professionals there. These are some of the fruits that Club Licensing has produced”, said Michael Senelwa, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of the Vihiga Queens. His Club won the Women Premier League Title in 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2023 and became CAF WCL-CECAFA Region Champions in 2021.

"I see club licensing as a step in the right direction. It ensures fair financial practices and discipline. It encourages us to ensure a safe working environment for our players. It is our responsibility to ensure that we guard and protect our vulnerable groups. It's about where players play, things like infrastructure - not only for the benefit of the players - but also how clubs can use it as a source of revenue now."

The importance of financial stability was further explained in a football-specific course ‘Understand Your Club’s Finances’. It aims to improve the financial sustainability of women's football clubs, which is an important pillar for the long-term success of the sport.

The course, aimed at football administrators, focused on balance sheets, budgeting and cash flow was developed by Xero, small business accounting software provider and a FIFA Women’s Football Partner. Together with FIFA, Xero works to promote women in small businesses and football. One key area is supporting the financial viability of clubs off the pitch so they can be better on it.

"Through our partnership with FIFA, we are working together to support the growth of the women’s game. Given Xero’s expertise, we wanted to offer a course focusing on understanding club finances, to administrators who play such an important role in the women’s football community. This is important as we know that better numbers off the field, mean better numbers on the field," said James Kyd, Global Head of Brand Strategy and Marketing at Xero

Did you know?

The Understand Your Club’s Finance ’course is part of Xero's Better Numbers programme, a series of resources designed to help football clubs succeed both on and off the pitch. To find out more, visit