NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – Beijing Raiders forward Salome Drailer earned a dream call up to the national women’s football team Harambee Starlets, less than an hour after starring for the team in their victorious run at the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom Nairobi region finals on Sunday.
Drailer drilled home four goals in the final as Raiders thrashed holders Acakoro and with head coach David Ouma watching on the sidelines. She was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and it was only a matter of time before she was handed a call up.
For her, this was a dream come true.
“I have always dreamt of playing for the national team. I worked hard and said one day I would be there because it is so much joy when you are walking out of the tunnel, standing singing to the national team and just donning those colors,” Drailer told Capital Sport.
But, things would have turned out differently and she might probably be still in her rural home of Bungoma had she not been spotted by Dagoretti Mixed High School head teacher Maurice Okumu.
Okumu scouted the 17-year old playing regional school games for Bujwang’a Primary School in Busia and took on the responsibility of taking her up under his care.
“I was in class eight and we were playing the regional games when the coaches saw me. I was approached by Mr. Okumu who went to my parents and asked them whether he could take me. He helped me join Olympic High School where he paid my fees in form one and two,” Drailer stated.
“When he was transferred to Dagoretti Mixed, he took me as well and that is where I have been from last year,” the form three student added.
“He has been the reason I am here today and one day, I would want to do something good for him. I want to work hard so that I play in Europe and buy him a new car,” further stated the youngster.
Drailer has gone on prove Okumu’s gamble as a right one.
Last year, in her first year at Dagoretti they qualified for the national school games for the first time ever and she hopes she can have a similar influence this year.
It is not only Okumu who has been scouting the youngster; even national team head coach David Ouma has had his eyes on her.
“I have been monitoring her for three years now since I saw her for the first time at Olympic. I think she is going to be a great player for Kenya and we want to give her as much exposure and experience as possible,” Ouma stated.
More on the fact that Drailer is talented was the fact that she scored four goals in the final against Acakoro, playing out of position. A natural midfielder, where Ouma also sees her playing at the national team, Drailer took on an attacker’s role in the Chapa Dimba final.
“We really didn’t expect to score six goals in a final and personally, I didn’t think I could score let alone four. After the first day when we saw Acakoro win by such a huge margin, we started to panic. But we suggested some changes the coach could make to strengthen the team and he did so. That’s why I was pushed to striking and things worked,” she noted.
Drailer now hopes she can push the side to clinch the national title while also adding that she hopes to be part of the Chapa Dimba All Star team that heads out to Spain for a training camp in May.
She also intends to work more on her own skill and technique, saying she still feels she has a lot of basics to learn before she can dream of making it into the top leagues abroad.