NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28- Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom top scorer Mercy Akinyi believes the trip to London for a week-long training will open doors for her as she seeks to turn professional.
Akinyi starred during the youth tournament at the regional and national held at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega where she was the top scorer.
But it is at the national where she made her name after hitting five goals to inspire her Plateau Queens side from Nyakach upset favourites Tartar 4-3 in post-match penalties to lift the inaugural Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Girls title and book a ticket to London for a week-long training.
“My role model is Cristiano Ronaldo, I like the way he plays and fight for his team because he must score so I want to be like him. I want to make Nyakach proud by scoring in each game and I know I can make it,” Akinyi, who is the first born in a family of six said.
Playing as a number 9 striker, Akinyi, a Form 4 student at Nyakach Girls, was part of the national women’s Under-20 team that was bundled out of the 2018 World Cup Qualifier by Ghana and she is now aspiring to upgrade to the senior team.
“Last year we were selected to play for the national U20 team. We started well by beating Botswana and Ethiopia, but unfortunately Ghana eliminated us and it’s because our best players were sitting for the Form 4 exams so the team was not prepared,” she added.
“I have dreams of playing abroad and that’s why we played so hard to win this tournament so that we can go to London and expose our talent, who knows maybe some of us might be scouted,” Akinyi, who started playing for Plateau Queens four years ago when she joined the school, revealed.
Raised by a single mother, Akinyi is thankful for the cash prize she received from the tournament, a total of Sh145, 000 – Sh30, 000 and 50,000 for the top scorer at the region and national level respectively and Sh10,000 and 45,000 team’s cash prize where they won Sh200,000 at the region and Sh1mn at the national.
She used the money to pay school fees and assist her family and she is upbeat of lifting her humble family to greater heights through football.
“It was not easy to win this title because there were many strong teams. We had to train hard and though we were not financially stable, we kept our heads high and here we are today as champions. Since we started the games, we only had one mission and that is to go to London.
Chapa Dimba has made a difference in our lives because we can now pay school fees from the money we won and help our families. It has also brought interaction with other footballers from other counties,” Akinyi noted.