Vihiga Queen’s Jentrix Shikangwa with her Most Valuable player’s trophy during the Inaugural edition of the CAF Women Champions League CECAFA Qualifiers final match at The Moi International Sports Center Kasarani. Sept 9, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

When American leader in human rights movement Elizabeth Cady Stanton said that “the best protection any woman can have is courage”, she did not have Jentrix Shikangwa in mind.

Shikangwa has demystified the 18th century quote, worn it as a cloak and she is now rising amid the daily challenges to conquer the sport of football not only locally but internationally.

The 20-year-old striker was the star of the Cecafa Women Club Championships after helping her club Vihiga Queens qualify for the inaugural CAF Women Champions League. 

Fresh from completing her national exams at Wiyeta Girls Secondary School, Shikangwa who has now shifted her focus to playing football fulltime was in the form of her life when Vihiga defeated Central Bank of Ethiopia 2-1 in the qualifiers finals played at Kasarani on Thursday.

After her first half opener had been cancelled out, the young striker was handed the opportunity to seal the win in the last minute of the match for the home side who were awarded a penalty.

Shikangwa held her nerve to convert the penalty at the death with her left foot, a penalty she said she took with no pressure.

“It was like normal play for me. No pressure at all and I was confident it was a goal,” said Shikangwa after the match.

“I am very happy for the win. What makes this special is that we had lost to CBE in the group stages and for us to get the opportunity to redeem ourselves against them in the finals is just great.”

The 2019 Cecafa Senior Women’s Challenge Cup top scorer finished with eight goals in the championship, but promised more when the CAF Champions League games kick off in Cairo, Egypt later this year.

“We are going back to train harder in preparation for the continental championship and all we ask is support from both the government and federation to enable us perform even better in Egypt,” added Shikangwa who was voted the Most Valuable Player.

Vihiga Queens will now join Mamelodi Sundowns Women as the only two teams that have already qualified for the inaugural championship. Sundowns defeated Black Rhinos Queens of Zimbabwe 3-0 in the Cosafa Qualifiers final.

Vihiga Queens assistant coach Boniface Nyamunyamu said his girls will now embark on sound reparation for the Champions League with a goal of performing better than they did at the Cecafa qualifiers.

“We did not make many mistakes in the finals and all we want do is rectify the minor hiccups we had because we understand it is not going to be an easy championship in Egypt,” said Nyamunyamu who is looking to take charge after the resignation of Alex Alumira.

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