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When he was posted to Chania High School as a new principal, the late Mr. Wachira found a slightly chaotic school. But thanks to his reputation we were already afraid of him long before he even reported. 

The assembly bell rang and we were all lined up to listen to the routine speeches from the teachers, head boy, head girl and a word from the good book.

The deputy took over and after her brief speech; she introduced our new principal Mr. Wachira. He looked as tough as the stories we had heard. And with his heavy accent from the slopes of Mt. Kenya he gave a short speech and declared; “Shania will Shange” (Chania will Change). And just like that he dismissed the parade. 

We did not require a logbook table or a protractor to know that he means business and we robotically scampered in different directions. I was in form Three.

Two days later while doing his patrols I bumped into him, each of us coming from blind positions. He stopped and asked what my name was. “Juma Hemedi ". "Sir” I replied. “Come with me to the office” he instructed.

The conversation we had with Mr. Wachira centered around sports, and in particular football. He was concerned that since the school was built we have never been past the zonal competitions in football but we had a very good netball team. 

I was tasked with setting up a boy’s football team and later a girl’s team. The boy’s team which we nicknamed “dream team” became the first Chania team to ever represent the school and Central Province in National Championship in Kaimosi the following year. Our girl’s team won the Provincial finals but there was no National competition for Girls.

Two weeks ago I attended the football match between Thika Queens football club and Zetech University from Ruiru, Two weeks earlier I had watched Thika Queens play Ulinzi  and earlier than that they had played Mathare women team Thika Queens won all those matches with good goal differences and an amazing display of talent. I must say that I was really impressed with the finesse, discipline and the dedication that each player displayed in all the matches.

Thika Queens is perhaps the first female team playing in the National league to be set up in Thika. It breathes the long lost fresh hope into the football arena in Thika. Football clubs in Thika have had a jinx of good starts and then on and off disappointments.

We grew up when Thika had clubs such as KTM FC, Metal Box FC, Kenya Canners FC, TCM FC (Thika Cloth Mills), Booth extractions FC, UTI FC, and BAT. Most of these teams were sponsored by the different manufacturing companies that had set up shop in Thika.

When the textile and manufacturing in Thika collapsed in the early nineties and late eighties, football in Thika and most industrial Towns took a nose dive. Ruiru went down, Eldoret went down, meru went down and many others followed.

Thika community began the establishment of community teams the most Notable being Former Thika United Club. The history of Thika United dates many years ago, long before the name (Thika United) was formed. The story began at the edge of the perimeter wall that surrounds the Thika Mosque in Majengo where a tall flood light towers the end of a short back path that separated three  primary schools (Thika Muslim, Thika Primary and St. Patricks). That exact spot existed as a “base” (a place where youths would idle and pass time away) known as “Beirut”.

Beirut football team was formed mostly by youths from Majengo, Starehe, Biafra, and Ofafa, as a way of passing time and staying away from social evils. I still vividly remember some players including Basanga, Hakim, Maha (Isayah), Kamae, Oti among others. 

Year’s later Beirut team died, but the spirit lived on. When Reinhard Fabisch, the German tactician who almost took Harambee starts to the 1998 World Cup came to Thika Municipal Stadium for a friendly match between Harambee stars and a team that had been hurriedly constituted under the name Thika Combined, the dream of a Thika team was awakened.

Sponsorship was secured through MEDISCA Company and later on Brookside took the sponsorship of Thika United FC. While Thika United brought the fans back to the stadium, the verdict is still out there as to what may have gone wrong or right with the team. But the dream was differed once again.

But one thing is clear, managing a football club is a capital intensive venture and it may be impossible without support from key sectors such as the corporate world as part of their Corporate Social Investment (CSI/CSR).

Thika Queens has once again rekindled and awakened the lost dream; they have managed to attract more fans and brought football lovers back into the stadium. They form almost 60% of the National women team that represents the country. The queens have once again given hope to the Thika community and placed it on the sporting map. 

They have won almost all their home and away games and have continued to show improvement in every other game. Their players have been called for trials by international clubs. All they need is a solid support. 

Thika business community, Manufacturers, corporate and Thika Community must rise to the occasion and help secure a long term sponsorship deal that will give the Queens a fighting chance and save our girls from early marriages, early pregnancies, and violence. We must rise to help nurture the sporting talents of the queens. 

We owe it to our daughters.

Hail to the QUEENS!!!!

Juma Hemedi

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