THE WOMAN BEHIND THE SPORT
By: Valyne Laibuta
Kalaine Kathambi is a student at Daystar University who embodies excellence. She is not only pursuing her degree in Marketing but she is also one of the most valued female players for the Daystar Hockey team. Outside school, she also plays for the Reiners Hockey Club.
Her love for hockey began in high school when she was in form two and once she picked up that hockey stick, she has never looked back. She describes hockey as being “thrilling” and unlike other sports, hockey puts more emphasis on the skill and technique. Therefore, due to her zeal and hard work she has perfected her skills and technique on the hockey pitch, allowing her to be able to go against the boys without even breaking a sweat.
For Kathambi, hockey is more than a hobby because it has provided her with the platform where she has been able to find herself and grow into the strong woman she is. She adds, “Hockey has become her outlet” when she has been experiencing a bad day and needs to release that negative energy. Unlike other players, she goes that extra mile such as going to train even on days that the team is not training, investing in the best hockey gear and going for a morning jog to ensure that she is at the top of her game.
“As females, our voices are not heard,” she said, “During tournaments, 16 male teams are enrolled while only 8 female teams are enrolled”. This is one of the challenges she has faced as a female hockey player. It is saddening that female hockey players can put in the work but still not be valued as highly as men. Another challenge she has faced is the injuries she has sustained during training, matches, and tournaments. She jokingly describes the injuries she has sustained such as “having cut my lip by being hit by the ball”.
“It was the last game I played in high school” describes Kathambi when asked about her most emotional match, “it was a goal that was meant to determine if we would make it for nationals and I could not score”. She adds that she hopes to redeem herself when she meets the goalkeeper from that last match in their upcoming match against Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
Lastly, she concludes by urging the Ministry of Sports, culture and the Arts to invest more in hockey and encourage more high school hockey players to pursue hockey once joining universities. She hopes to see more and more people joining her to train with the Daystar Falcons.