Andrea Ogalle – Conqueror of barriers

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022 00:03 | By
Andrea Ogalle - Conqueror of barriers
Andrea Ogalle during a training at Goodrich International School at Syokimau in Machakos County. PHOTO/PHILIP KAMAKYA.

From a cursory glance, she is likened to Germany’s Lena Oberdorf who had all the qualities that would endear her to any coach worth his salt.

For starters, Oberdorf was a combative, energetic, and intelligent defensive midfielder who sensed and snuffed out danger with a level of nous and assuredness that belied her age.

Never mind that Oberdorf would make menacing forays in the opponents defense lines, leaving them at sixes and sevens before notching in some of the most memorable goals ever witnessed in the world of football.

Meet 10-year old Andrea Ogalle, a daughter to veteran Kenyan Journalist Victor Ogalle, and who has broken the gender barrier to become a distinguished captain of the boys’ team at Goodrich International School.

Goodrich is a lower class institution that is located at the heart of Syokimau in Mavoko Municipality within the expansive Machakos County with its signature being well manicured lawns and gardens in the ever-growing neighbourhood.

It was founded by the late Gideon Kimulu Kyalo and is now being run by his widow Karen Mwebia, the Director who is credited with the flourishing of the institution’s other branches in Kileleshwa and Embakasi.

What makes the school stand out amongst the private entities in the country is that Besides football, it also features ballet dance, Normal dancing, drama, Music, cooking club, Chess, ICT, Tae Kwondo and Dance 360.

The Principle is an affable man in the shape of Peter Otieno Awino who has no qualms saying that character building is the most important work ever entrusted to pupils, adding that besides Andrea, other budding footballers like Jeremiah Koel, Eze Diswah, Ryan McGeorge and chess wizards in Kiran Wachira and Jesee Leon remain an epitome of hope moving forward.

Andrea, though, remains the talking point in a n institution that has produced a fair share of kids that have produced extraordinary success in various sports.

“Never before was Goodrich International School’s diligent study so important so much so that Andrea has herself said it has shaped her blossoming football, the gender disparity notwithstanding,’’ quips Otieno after breaking his busy schedule to meet the People Daily team for an interview at his office.

“It is perfection at its best amongst the school footballers and especially Andrea. It is not a hindrance to academic performance and I’m overly glad that they are increasingly putting us in the private school’s map in the country. At this rate I expect her to earn a national women team call up,” said Otieno.

Perhaps unbeknownst to many, Andrea’s journey towards the career was by default and not by design, thanks to her father who was gifted with a ball in a social function oblivious of the fact that this was the beginning of the molding of what would eventually become a football queen in Kenya’s junior ranks in private education institutions.

“I can recall this day when I was in a group of fellow journalists at a Heineken function when I won a ball and took it home. The ball was deflated and the little girl could not get her hands off it and inflated it to do what she does best despite my persistence to her to concentrate on her academic,’’ reminisces Victor

Added Victor: “One thing then led to another and Andrea invited her neighborhood friends who did not have equipment for a tournament and there was no stopping here. She had just suddenly fallen in love with football and who was I to stop her from pursuing her passion?”

Andrea intones rather wryly “I used to play truancy in my academic studies just to play the sport I love but luckily it did not interfere worth my academic performance. I have been leading my school team  from the front in football and will hopefully continue to do so just to prove that girls are just better like boys in all spheres of life,’’ said Victor.

And perhaps to give credence to Andrea’s assertion, the Principle, an ardent Arsenal fan, said the institution, which has various branches within Nairobi, has been blessed with students who have been able to perfectly balance between co-extracurricular activities with academics. 

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