Kenya's Steffany Wangari among top three winners of global writers competition

Steffany Wangari Ndei. [Courtesy]

A Kenyan journalist Steffany Wangari Ndei is among 17 women who have won the global Emerging Women Writers Competition.

This is after the 29-year-old wrote a personal story of her relationship with football, from a child who fell in love with the game watching the 2002 World Cup, to a promising player on a college scholarship in the US, to becoming disaffected with the game until she returned to Kenya to coach a boys' team.

The global Emerging Women Writers competition was launched last September to encourage aspiring women football writers.

The 17 contestants are drawn from 11 countries. Their stories in the initiative will appear in an anthology entitled Hear Us Roar - an anthology of emerging women football writers, to be published ahead of the 2023 Women's World Cup and launched at the 2023 Football Writers' Festival to be held in Sydney from July 15 to 17.

As part of the prize, the top three winners will also travel to Australia to attend the festival.

Wangari, former Nairobi's Soccer Queen Ladies FC midfielder is ranked position two of the top three contributions assessed by an international judging panel of seven judges.

Wangari is a journalism graduate from Nairobi currently studying for a Masters in Sports Integrity and Ethics and wants to be a sports investigative journalist.

"Bar the disbelief, I am stoked to meet and learn from the heavyweights in the industry of sports journalism as well as the upcoming heavy hitters," she said.

Olga Bagatini from Brazil ranks first position with a profile of Sissi, one of the greats of Brazilian women's football who was the joint Golden Boot winner at the Women's World Cup in 1999.

Sissi is all but forgotten in her own country's football establishment and Bagatini wants to give women of Sissi's generation the recognition they deserve.

Bagatini, age 29, is a journalist from Sao Paulo who is currently with UN Women working on a project, which uses sport to empower women and girls, particularly from the favelas.

"I am absolutely delighted with this opportunity. I can't wait to represent Latin America at the 2023 Football Writers' Festival, exchange with writers from all over the world and be able to bring Sissi's story to a wider audience through the anthology," she said in an interview.

In third place is Alina Ruprecht from Germany who wrote a football business piece by profiling FC Viktoria Berlin and how a group of women investors are changing football administration and management in a lower level women's club, and their ambition to make it to the top level.

Ruprecht, age 23, is a political science graduate from Munich who is now enrolled in a Masters degree in European Studies, and hopes to work in football.

"When I received the invitation to attend the Football Writers' Festival in Sydney, I was completely speechless. This is an incredible opportunity to meet the other emerging women's writers, and read all the stories that are to be published in the anthology and I am thrilled that the judges appreciated my work."

The judging panel featured journalists and writers from Australia, the UK, Nigeria, Egypt, and Argentina, including Laura Williamson, Marcela Mora y Araujo, Inas Mazhar, Osasus Obayiuwana

The fourth iteration of the Football Writers Festival will be held in Tar-Ra and Tullagalla, the cultural precincts of Sydney also known as Walsh Bay, from July 15-17th 2023, days ahead of the opening of the 2023 Women's World Cup.

The event will feature presentations from Australian and international speakers including Craig Foster AM, Dr Karen Menzies, Brendan Schwab, Ciara McCormack, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Emeritus Professor John Maynard, Dr Greg Downes, Jade North, Steve Darby, Clare Shine, and numerous award-winning authors and journalists.

The Football Writers Festival is an initiative of Fair Play Publishing, supported by the Johnny Warren Football Foundation.