“The commitment from millions of stakeholders around the world to see women’s football reach heights is unbelievable”

Women’s football has come a long way! Right now when you talk of the fastest growing sports around the globe, you can’t miss women’s football. A lot of young girls at grassroots have hope of becoming professional players because of the investment various members associations are putting in the women’s game. There has been a lot of change. Change in Spanish means Cambios.

In Europe and other continents, deliberate efforts have been taken to involve the media, engage the fans and other stakeholders. Various experts have been deployed on women football missions and the game has attracted sponsors on board. Having lived in a beautiful country like England, I have watched the game progressively grow with a lot of admiration.

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup brought a lot of people together. It wasn’t just about winning Tropies but it was also a platform for changing mindsets and advocacy. Taking an example of Megan Rapinoe, she was the best player of the WWC not just on the field but off it too. She has continued to use her voice to advocate for Inclusion of minority groups of people in football.

Megan Rapinoe during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, France.

The women’s game I feel is growing so fast that everyone involved in it now should be willing to match it’s fast growing pace, be highly qualified, passionate and continuously educate oneself. A lot of things are happening that weren’t the norm back then in the women’s game.

Just today, Tottenham Women’s Football club coaches Karen Hills and Juan Amoros left the club. Matt beard on the same day had just announced leaving Westham Women’s football club. Both teams have been struggling to collect points in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League. This shows that the standard and demand for results in the women’s game is extremely high. Players, coaches, general managers and everyone now involved in women clubs football is expected to produce top class quality results and give more.

Tottenham Women’s Football Club managers Karen Hills and Juan Amoros

The commitment from millions of stakeholders around the world to see women’s football reach heights is unbelievable. Journalist pages and groups are so many, Sponsorships are coming in . Exciting opportunities now exist for young girls and women to get involved in the game, it is exciting times to be part of women’s football.

I moved to England when I was just 17, things were different then, I was full of dreams and ambitions of my own. I stepped on my first flight for the first time ever then and I remember tears coming out of my eyes as I waved good bye to my mother at the airport for one last time.

I didn’t know how big my life was going to change. From figuring out my way around the airport while learning following direction signs for the first time to figuring out my journeys on the train. Living in England as a 17 year old, with my family back home, plus the expensive international phone calls wasn’t easy. I didn’t have a computer of my own then so I didn’t have constant WiFi or data to call my family, I had to visit an Internet cafe.

I lived in a nice neighbourhood in London figuring out the start of my new chapter as a footballer after attending trials at Charlton women’s club. It was an exciting moment. Playing football in Europe for the first time, it is every young African players dream. Despite the challenges I faced to be able to even play football, I persisted because I wanted all young girls in my country Uganda, where I was born to believe that there is hope of playing football out of the country. Right now there’s hope for young girls to becoming full time professional footballers they want to.

This year our lives have all changed globally with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting almost all activities and affecting people’s lives. We are learning to live a new life. I must admit I hate that our lives have had to be forcefully changed drastically by a virus but such is life. We have to adapt and move forward. I finally accepted that we have to live a new normal.

The women’s game has suffered massively! Thankfully lot of big organisations have come together to rescue the sport including the FIFA and various other organisations, teams and able individuals be it through grants or organising webinars to find solution and educate stakeholders . I also want to sincerely thank everyone who continues to advocate for our beautiful sport to keep it shining!

As for COVID-19, we shall defeat it! Just yesterday the Sseninde Foundation with which I am the Chief Executive Officer, held its first webinar of 2020 addressing how we can adapt to challenges caused by COVID-19 and positively move forward. The panelist’s got to share a lot of insightful ideas. We have to see women’s sport as an elite sport that deserves equal funding, attention and support to recover out of the effects left by the pandemic and move forward. We have to adapt to the effects left by COVID-19 and move forward.

Sseninde Foundation hosted a women’s football webinar to address Adapting to Changes that have been caused by Women’s Football.

It took me so long to figure out what I am good at or what sport I loved most, but I think now I have hit the nail on the head. Women’s football is my favourite sport. I am obsessed to the extent I rarely miss a single women’s match. Currently a UEFA B Licence coach thanks to the English FA who have made sure they include everyone in education programmes, I want to continue analysing the game and learning more about its technicalities.

Venturing into the administration side of things has also been amazing and my favourite. I enjoy writing strategies, writing implementation plans , figuring out complicated things, solving issues, teaching others on subjects I know and directing roles. As I conclude, I continue to ask that we continue to educate ourselves and be intensional in our efforts to see women’s football get to the top globally and push to remain there or even better.

Author: Jean Sseninde

Forbes 30 under 30 Finalist 2019 | Footballer Uganda Women's National Team | CEO Sseninde Foundation | Founder Sseninde Women's Development Cup | CAF Women’s Football Committee

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