Kenya: Action-Starved Hockey Star Turns to Football

13 January 2021

Kenya national women's hockey team captain and Strathmore University's Scorpions attacker, Gilly Okumu has revived her football career after joining Mathare United women's football team.

Okumu featured for the Slum girls as they went down 1-0 to Makolanders during the women's Football Kenya Federation Premier League Zone "A" tie at the Stima Members Club on Sunday.

The Sinyolo Girls alumnus said failure of the Kenya Hockey Union season to kick off spearheaded her move to football, but insisted her first love remains hockey.

"I'm not new to football. My football journey began at Sinyolo Girls High School in Nyanza as a Form one student in 2010, but later I ditched football for hockey in Form three and therefore I'm going back to where my sportsmanship begun, although for fun. However, I'm still committed to hockey because that's where my bread is buttered," said the 25-year-old.

A goal poacher in hockey, Okumu who was to renew her contract with German side Eintracht Frankfurt last year before the coronavirus pandemic struck, hopes to use her poaching instincts to help the winless Mathare United, who are pegged bottom after three matches played.

"I was not lucky to score as I made my maiden appearance on Sunday, but I believe with time, everything will fall in place. I just need to get my act together and I will be good to go. I joined Mathare because it's close to where I stay and therefore attending training sessions has been easy for me," said Okumu.

With development, Okumu follows in the ranks of fellow international Pauline Naise of Amira Sailors, who has succeeded in both football and hockey.

Naise plays for Vihiga Leeds that features in FKF Division One League Zone "B".

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