How Ferdinand Omanyala convinced footballer to hang boots for spikes

ATHLETICS How Ferdinand Omanyala convinced footballer to hang boots for spikes

Abigael Wafula 07:05 - 26.01.2024

Monica Safania has narrated how Africa's fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala played a role in her decision to switch from football to sprinting.

Sprinter Monica Safania has opened up on why she bid goodbye to football and decided to join the world of sprints.

Safania revealed that she was very talented as a footballer but she had to consider her choices after getting motivation from Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala who has been a revelation for Kenya.

She noted that Kenyan football, especially on the women’s side, is marred by challenges and players rarely get to earn substantial amounts of money. 

The diminutive sprinter compared football to athletics and noted that any athlete who medals in an international event gets to earn a lump sum from one race.

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“I used to play football and I believe I’m still a footballer because I'm naturally talented. I changed to athletics because of the influence from Ferdinand Omanyala with whom I have been training with until he changed coaches.

“He has been pushing us and motivating us to do better and we believe that if he can make it on the global stage, we are also capable of doing well.

“Kenyans don’t value football, especially on the women’s side. They only come together when there is a tournament and when it ends, everyone goes their separate ways.

“During the stay in the camps, the players are also given very little allowance but in athletics when you medal in one international race, you are a millionaire in Kenya.

“Football doesn’t have money and you know sports is a career so you can’t waste a whole year just to earn very little money,” Safania told Pulse Sports.

The sprinter will be eyeing the All-African Games in Ghana this season and later this year, she will be hoping to make the cut to the Olympic team.