Nairobi News

Sports

Harambee Starlets captain turns to cooking to make ends meet – VIDEO

Kenya’s national women team captain Dorcas Shikobe has been forced to work at a restaurant in a bid to make ends meet amid a blanket ban on sports activities in the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta recently issued an indefinite ban on sports activities in a move he said will help curb the spread of coronavirus.

But that announcement, which also caused the cancellation of an international friendly between Kenya and Zambia in Lusaka, has also left thousands of athletes, Shikobe included, jobless.

As a result, the 31-year old can now be traced at a hotel in Thika where she works as a cook.

The eatery is home to several low-income workers in the area and Shikobe has specialised in preparing meat stew and soup.

“Based on the state of football in the country and especially women’s football at the moment, you cannot depend on the earnings from playing to survive because it is never enough, you just have to look for another source of income to sustain yourself,” she told Nairobi News.

Shikobe, who also turns out for Thika Queens in the Kenya Women Premier League, earns an average of Sh400 a day from his new hustle.

The mother of one explains she has had to leave her daughter with her parents in Naivasha, some 150 kilometres from Thika, from where she facilitates her education and upkeep.

“Being away from her always pains me because a parent has to be close to their children but I make time to go see her and when I don’t have football games to play in at the weekend. I am trying to earn a living for us and I hope she understands.”

Despite the challenges, Shikobe stresses that there is hope for women’s football in Kenya especially with the young talents joining the league teams and national team.

“Things are definitely different than from when I was starting out. Right now I see the young players fighting for their positions in whatever team they are in and that is encouraging enough even seeing them get deals in European leagues which is a milestone that I am happy about.

“Although we have managed to keep our places in the national team, sometimes it hurts to see the new players come in and their careers advance faster than ours but it’s all for the best, ” said Shikobe.

With sports activities suspended in the country due to the pandemic, Shikobe hopes that things will soon get back to normal and she continues to prove herself on the pitch with the hopes of one day joining a professional team in South Africa.

Shikobe has been part of the national team since 2015 and competed at the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) in Cameroon where Kenya played against heavyweights such as Ghana, Mali and Ghana.

Her greatest achievement is winning the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) title in 2019 after Kenya downed Tanzania 2-0 in the final played at the Chamazi Stadium in Dar es Salaam.