Opisa: From defender to a Chapa Dimba goalscoring machine
Published on: March 14, 2020 05:31 (EAT)
After failing to progress beyond the regional finals for two straight, Wiyeta Girls finally broke into Chapa Dimba’s biggest stage in grand fashion. At the Rift Regional finals that concluded at the Kericho Green Stadium a week ago, Wiyeta were not only crowned the girls’ champions but also entered history books of the grassroots tournament after scoring a whooping 20 goals in two matches without conceding. Wiyeta dismantled Bomet Queens 17-0 at the semi-final stage before thrashing Itigo Girls 3-0 in the final. At the heart of Wiyeta’s scary attack is the prolific Shalyene Opisa who scored seven goals, the most at the tournament and bagged the golden boot award for her effort. Her achievement seem like a normal feat until you find out the Form Two student only converted to playing up front this year after spending her opening year at the football powerhouse as a defender. So how did Opisa go from stopping goals to becoming so clinically good at putting them at the back of the net? “In training we saw the power that she has on her legs and also with the commitment she displayed in defence we taught it would help us in attack. We also lacked a natural finisher and when you see her (Opisa) she has goal-scoring instincts,” head coach Edgar said Manyara. Wearing the number nine jersey, Opisa hit the back of the net six times as Wiyeta pummelled Bomet Queens 17-0 in the semis before scoring the third goal in their 3-0 triumph over Itigo in the final. Speaking with Citizen Digital, Opisa said she is relishing the prospect of playing a striker her preferred position in her early career. “First, I am very happy that we have made it to the nationals. I have been working very hard and following what my coaches tell me. Even in defence I think I did well and when I was moved forward, I am still feeling comfortable because I used to play as a striker before in Primary School,” she said. Dreaming Big At 17, Opisa who grew up in Shinyalu in Kakamega County is now dreaming of playing for the national team and play abroad. “I know that with hard work and commitment one day I will play for Harambee Starlets and which will in turn open many opportunities,” said Opisa. The forward also drawing comparisons on playing as a defender and striker. “In defence I used to run a lot so as to cover space but I can now use that to go past defenders and score goals,” she said. Next Shikangwa? While Opisa was terrorizing defenders at the Kericho Green Stadium, her schoolmate and teammate Jentrix Shikangwa was miles away with the national team who earned invitation to grace the annual Turkish Women’s Cup. Opisa said she is slowly learning the ropes from Shikangwa who also won the 2019 SOYA most promising girl award. “We usually train together in school and we are greatly inspired by her (Shikangwa) because she has achieved a lot,” averred Opisa. With Shikangwa on her last final year in school, Manyara has tipped Opisa to take the mantle from her. “I think in every team they usually plan for life without their star player and for me I think Opisa is our next Shikangwa,” said Manyara. With the Chapa Dimba national finals slated for June in Mombasa, Opisa will be hoping to thrill her fans once again.