Last updated 4 months ago | By Mohammed Awal
Cash strapped Kenya Women Premier League (KWPL) has reverted to its old zonal format where the 16 clubs will compete in Zone A and B
The move which is aimed at reducing travelling expenses incurred by the clubs will see the teams compete with teams in their region.
This comes just two years after the league was unified in 2018 when the federation started to sponsor the clubs with Sh 750,000 each season.
But the sponsorship deal only went for that year with teams struggling to honour their away matches in the 2019 season forcing clubs like Nyuki starlets and Vihiga Leeds to be relegated.
Zone A will have last season’s runners up Gaspo Youth, newcomers Ulinzi Starlets from Kahawa, varsity side Zetech Sparks, Thika Queens, Kayole Starlets, Mathare United and Makolanders F.C.
In Zone B the newly promoted duo of Nakuru West Queens and SEP Oyugis will join Defending Champions Vihiga Queens, Wadadia F.C, Kisumu All Starlets, Eldoret Falcons, Trans Nzoia Falcons and Naivasha based Oserian Ladies.
But the zone B teams will still have the financial headache of travelling for long to honour their away matches with clubs like SEP Oyugis for instance, forced to travel to Naivasha to face Oserian Ladies. Unlike Zone A where the teams there farthest they will have to travel will be to Thika, to face Thika Queens.
Even though the move will reduce the financial strain to the clubs, last year Kenya Women Premier League top scorer and Vihiga Queens striker Terry Engesha is afraid the move will reduce the level of competition in the league.
“The move will affect the competition in the league, our fierce rivals are teams in Nairobi, we don’t expect any stiff competition from teams in our region,” said Engesha.
However, FKF deputy chairperson Doris Petra is adamant that the division was the only solution to salvage the league after the sponsorship money to the clubs was cut off.
“We have not been able to get funding for the league and this was necessary to reduce expenses for the clubs, the Sh 750,000 grant by FIFA was stopped as the body wanted the money to be used in development projects not to be given to individual clubs, “said Petra.
After the round-robin in the zone leagues, top three winners in each zone will contest in a mini-league to crown the Kenya Women Premier League winner. The new season is scheduled to kick off on March 7.