This is the 21st season of play since inception. We currently have about 300 boys and girls playing from ages 15 down to 10 years. The league has two category age groups: U13s and u15s. These kids come from 12 community clubs who then breakdown to 16 teams in the two categories, above mentioned.
Many participants in our program average one meal a day. It is very possible that players may come to the field on Sunday without having breakfast or lunch. LCFL works hard each season to provide porridge, rice, and beans.
The idea behind this iniative was to finally give the league a tangible purpose with an expected outcome. We are in agreement that we are not in this to make the next Cristiano Ronaldo or a Victor Wanyama, but this program can be bigger than that if it can directly affect a kid's life for the rest of his/her life. There is a common belief here that footballers or soccer playing persons are not as bright and sharp as non playing kids. And while this is not scientifically proven yet, and the debate for yes or no on this subject continues, soccer can still play a huge role in the development of these young boys and girls. Again, Likoni is predominantly poor. Fact! Hence the need for so many scholarships and financial assistance, especially for secondary and post secondary education. It is my hope and big dream that this organization will one day offer education scholarships for our star players who are joining secondary school to not only continue their sports development but to better their educations. Organizations like Hatua Likoni will never support these kids if they are not A students. Ben, refer to Chamina’s video on the lcfl videos and hear what she says about what football has done for her as a player.
Helping kids through secondary school. There is a definitely a need for continuous engagement, interaction and mentorship for both supported and non-supported participants of the league is definitely very important. Maybe special sessions with the supported players are needed, especially during school holidays. These will help further understand the needs, challenges and expectations of the beneficiaries while also serving as motivation to the rest to work extra hard for them to be considered for the very limited opportunities.
PAST PROGRAMS & INITIATIVES
Save the Fields
LCFL has saved 10 fields over the past 10 years. We identified that land was being grabbed and worked with community leaders to save the fields. If fields were starting to be used as a dump site, we would set up goal posts. LCFL found support from local administration under national government.
Peace and Security
Invited communities from Likoni and gathered in a central location. Set up tents with chairs and a projector so the kids could see the effects of not having peace. Focused on post-election violence that occurred in 2007. Participated in drills, games, and conversations to get everyone in the same line of thinking. Ended with a football tournament. The champions were made Peace Ambassadors.
In 2012, together with other coaches, the LCFL established the 1st professional women's soccer team, popularly known as Likoni Starlets FC. The team went on to take part in the Kenya Women Premier League earning two of our best players transfers to other stronger sides in the league. Zenah Iddi moved to Oserian Ladies FC in Naivasha, while Mwanahalima “Dogo” Adam moved to Mombasa Olympic. Zenah is a two time Kenya Women Premier League champion currently back with the LCFL while Mwanahalima has gone on to be one of the most currently capped Kenya women national team players. She is currently with Thika Queens FC.
The founding and establishing of this girls’ team has seen a rise in the number of girls taking part in the sport of soccer with about 6 teams being registered, soon after, in Likoni alone. Over the years, the LCFL has helped start a girls league supporting the girls teams with equipment, capacity building and monetary incentives. Currently, LCFL encourages the boys teams in the league to have safe spaces in their teams for female players that may be interested in playing. Any team fielding a female player in the ongoing league receives an additional point to be tallied to their final points at the end of the season. A special award will be shared to the team that is most consistent. All this is being done to encourage more girls to take part in the sport of soccer, something that is still a big rarity in this side of the world.