Football Kenya Federation (FKF) got its first female boss on Tuesday, November 30 albeit under controversial legal circumstances. Embattled FKF President Nick Mwendwa in a letter to the federation’s National Executive Committee (NEC) stepped aside and transferred the functions of the FKF president to his deputy Doris Petra.
Mwendwa has been in and out of cells and the courts in recent weeks, battling allegations of fraud and embezzlement leveled against him by the State. The Ministry of Sports led by Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed had also disbanded the FKF and appointed a Caretaker Committee to run Kenyan football for a six-month period.
The FKF has, however, received the backing of world football governing body FIFA which threatened Kenya with a ban over government interference.
“In light of the foregoing, specifically the arrests and detention, which have adversely affected my family and personal business and whilst I’m confident of being cleared of any wrongdoing in the end, I have today, in accordance with Article 42 (8) of the FKF constitution asked my vice president madam Doris Petra to assume all functions of the president,” Mwendwa wrote.
Among other roles including managing league football and the national team, the caretaker committee is supposed to pave the way for fresh elections at FKF in six months.
Doris Petra has been a football fan all her life, and in past interviews revealed how she used to play with boys as a child. She also played netball. Petra, however, only got into football administration while in her forties.
She holds a Diploma in Personnel and Human resource and began working for Kenya Posts and Telecommunication, now Telkom, in 1989, before she was retrenched in 2005. She has not held a corporate job since then. Before the stint at Kenya Posts and Telecommunication, Petra was an untrained teacher at Thur Dibuoro Secondary School in Nyakach.
She got into football administration and worked as a National Executive Committee member under former federation President Sam Nyamweya who served until 2015.
She then joined Nick Mwendwa’s ticket as the Kariobangi Sharks owner ran for FKF President and became the federation’s first female Deputy President.
As Mwendwa’s deputy, her key roles involved developing projects and football proposals that need approval from the National Executive Committee for implementation. She also represented the FKF President when he was absent.
“Nick is a very transparent person, therefore, if he is not happy with something he will address it there and then. He is someone who will give you responsibility and will not interfere with the actuation process. We have had a very good work relationship,” Petra told reporters last year.
She cites establishment of provincial league structures in the Rift Valley and creation of a stable set-up for the womens’ national team, Harambee Stars, as being among her biggest achievements.
Petra has also advocated for strengthening womens’ leagues in Kenya and giving them more media prominence to attract sponsors.