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Ex-Harambee starlets target Phoebe Ndege opens up on her career, moving to the US

By Steven Umidha
Tuesday, March 16th, 2021 10:54 | 4 mins read
Phoebe Ndege

Phoebe Akoth Ndege missed the golden opportunity to play for Harambee Starlets, Kenya’s senior women’s national football team, a dream for many young female athletes because she had no one to ‘hold her hand’ in the tedious team’s selection process.

Disappointed by the prospect of the joining the national team, the former Thika Queens player and an alumni of Mount Kenya University and Sega Girls secondary school took kept her chin up and quietly embarked on her electrical engineering career – an unexpected journey that saw her move to the United States and now settled in Pennsylvania pursuing Associate Degree in Electrical Technology at Northampton Community College on multiple scholarships. She spoke to Steve Umidha

Que: You came close to joining Harambee Starlets, do you still have those aspirations?

Ans: I already had a good educational background that acted as my plan B in case things don't work for me as expected. Not really; I ought to give my engineering career my all and most of my time. Others will have to remain for fun or for leisure activity.

Que: What went through your mind when the opportunity to join Women’s National Football team was ‘snatched’ away from you?

Ans: In whatever thing I do, I always give myself a second plan just in case things don't work as expected. Since high school, I had trained myself to excel both in class and outside class.

As we know very well that talent is not a lifetime career that you can do for the rest of your time hence the reason why I also made sure that my class work performance was always good.

To make it worse, female soccer has not reached that level that one can consider it as a career.

Que: Do you regret it?

Ans: I don’t regret at all, I think if I had no other plan then there would be a room for regret. I loved my career so much and since then I decided to give it my all and also I had prioritized it.

As they say knowledge is power thus; the only thing that no one can rob away from you.

Que: There are so many Kenyan female athletes with immense potential of playing football at the highest level but somehow such opportunities have eluded them, what advice would you offer them and how do you think the ministry of sports here in Kenya can elucidate that disparity?

Ans: I know my country is full of young talent that just need support and good direction, however, I will still advocate to Kenyan female athletes that it would be better for them to at least have other things they can do beside just playing, It will really help them when they outgrow their talents or incase it bears no fruits to them.

To the sports ministry, I am requesting them to at least come up with a scholarship program that can help them further their education in various fields after high school.

Que: A combination of luck and hard work earned you a ticket to Pennsylvania in the US to pursue Associate Degree in Electrical Technology at Northampton Community College on multiple scholarships, how was that possible and how is the journey thus far?

Ans: So far so good. I think my outstanding performance that I have maintained since I joined the college has spoken so much about me. I haven’t met either of my donors yet since they offered me a scholarship award, but that hasn't stopped them from sponsoring me.

Lutron Electronics came in first in my first semester to date, the only secret to maintain the award is by maintaining your good performance. Donald and the Stabler family joined later on, this was as a result of good performance from my academic history. Maintaining your good performance is the key to maintain your donors.

Que: How has that transition (from to the US) impacted your social life?

Ans: However good a place can be I will still admit that home will always remain the best place to be, so far I cannot complain much about anything in US, being here has taught me so much; have been in a position to see life in a different way.

In my own perspective I will say that I am enjoying everything here except, food, bad weather and most of all Catholic Church here is not as lively as ours oh my I really miss our Catholic Church services so much, they are the best so far.

Que: Do you still have future plans of playing football, either in the US or Kenya?

Ans: In the US yes, I already had a team that was ready to sign me, unfortunately the very weekend I was supposed to finalize my move was the same time that the government announced the commencement of lockdown after the country was hit hard with the ongoing pandemic. If things get back to normal I will consider playing for my school.

Que: What are your future plans upon graduation?

Ans: If American will have something in store for me then I won't hesitate to give it a chance, also am still open and would really like to further my studies I still need to get more knowledge in this field, as they say education has got no end, I will study as long as i get more scholarships.

Que: What next for Phoebe Ndege?

Ans: Phoebe is doing all these because she has a dream to achieve, owning a power plant has been my long term dream, however small or big it will be, it will remain my forever dream, and also making it in the list of female engineers in the world.

I am still requesting investors who may have interests in investing in clean green sources of energy to come along and support this dream.

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