The Kenya Rugby Referees Association has seen an increase in the number of upcoming female officials in the recent years. The six young ladies who are making a name for themselves in the Officiating field are Mercy Murugi, Faith Mlongo, Mary Wambui, Knight Otwoma, Mercy Dudi and Maureen Ambani. All between the 20-25 age bracket.
Mercy Murugi has officiated in four High School matches as a center referee. She credits her introduction to rugby to Innocent Kimathi, one of Kenya’s top referees who introduced her to the sport during one of the rugby matches at UpperHill School where she was working as a Teacher on Practice. One of her goals is to work in the training and development department of the sport with a focus on girls’ schools.
Faith Mlongo is a 25-year old referee who started off as a Mghalu High School player and later shifted her focus from playing to officiating once she completed her Secondary School education. She is currently working in the Taveta Water and Sewerage Company and intends to grow her officiating journey. She has officiated in 15 matches since she joined this path back in 2015.
Most of you have seen Mary Wambui during the KRU Women’s Festival playing for the Impala Ladies.
She is a Community Development student at the Kenya School of Professional Studies who was introduced to the sport by her friends who are already officials. Since she didn’t have a good grasp of the sport, she opted to start off as a player before focusing on the refereeing aspect of the sport. Her long term goal is to officiate the Kenya Cup Final and work her way up the ranks to the HSBC World Sevens Series.
Mary also plans on introducing rugby in the local areas that are yet to learn about the sport and teach the kids the core values that guide this sport. She officiated the Strathmore and KCB ESS match on the 9th of February at the Madaraka Grounds.
Maureen Ambani is a Kenyatta University student studying Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Sports Management. She has in the past refereed in ten High School Games
Mercy Dudi has been one of the Safari7s, Kenya Cup League, 2017/2018 National Sevens Circuit and the Women’s Festivals match officials in the last two years.
She is a High School teacher from Isiolo who’s interest in the sport started in 2015. It was her students who asked her if she could introduce rugby to them which she did. “It has been a great experience learning more aspects of the game from an officiating perspective.”
The sixth lady, is Knight Otwoma, a level one accredited Match Official who played an instrumental role in founding the Kisumu Women’s Team, Kisumu RFC.
She also got her first officiating medal at the 2018 Safari Sevens. Her other accolades come from the 2017 #KRUWomensFestival where the Northern Suburbs, her former team, were crowned the overall champions.
Knight is a former Kabaddi player, she accompanied her friend to a rugby training session and that is how she joined rugby. She has so far served as an Assistant Referee in eight championship matches, three ESS matches and four Kenya Cup matches. She was also a center referee in the Stanbic Bank National Sevens Circuit. She plans on developing the sport by scouting, coaching and officiating in Western Kenya schools and clubs.
The six join the likes of Noreen Liyosi, Beryl Akinyi, Mary Musieka, Irene Owino and Peris Mukoko who have already made a name for themselves in the Officiating World.