“MY” – THOERY OF LIFE

Why do we ask and wait for others to create positive change in the world when we have the POWER to create and change it ourselves?

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – J F. Kennedy.

When I started holding football clinic visits in Uganda around various communities of the country about 7 years ago, it wasn’t the everyday norm, well at least in my opinion. A lot of sacrifices, giving time, long travels, and much more I don’t want to write here because it’s long.

From then on for some reason I started getting so many requests in my inboxes of people requesting me to visit them in their communities, others for different things I can’t even mention here but some of the few texts I used to get in my inbox were, What are you going to do to help Women’s football in our country? I didn’t give it much thought then because I do women’s football activities in various communities because I love the game and I wish to see many young girls and women get opportunities to play football and also became whatever they want to be in life without anyone stoping them.

Later I came to think of it, what if all these people asking me what am going to do for their villages, communities and country ask themselves what they are going to do for their own communities or country? So the day I saw J.F Kennedy’s quote above, it automatically became my favourite quote because it alligned with one of my top goals in life, I  love to serve my community or country in anyway without waiting or demanding others to do it for me because I believe we all can contribute positively to our communities without waiting or demanding for others to create positive change for us.

I feel I have given all my time and everything else to this beautiful game I love, football both on and off the pitch. It’s crazy how much love one can have for anything; I think sometimes too much love for anything can be exhausting right? But yet again true love stands all trials of life, the thick, the thin etc. When you love something, you fight to keep the relationship.

These last few days, I have been somewhat having random weird thoughts on my mind. The other day I came to believe that maybe there’s no ending to the journey of life. To me life feels as though we are moving in circles, it’s rotating endlessly. You reach a high, reach a low, sickness, health, you get rich and then poor again, get friends and lose them all again, and then back again and again till your last day on this real earth. It’s like as if we are spinning in circles and the process continues. There’s no destination, no ending.

So, in my own imaginations, I came up with my own theory of life. The theory is, we are on earth, but each one of us has their own spinning machine which we live in for our entire lifetime. Of course, there’s no getting out of this machine EXCEPT, the day you get out is the day you die. According to my theory, some people decide by themselves to get out of this machine while others are forcefully taken out of it (Of course by the bad people). These spinning machines, some are new, some are broken, some are old, some are at a point where they need support to function.

The good news is, everything exists in these spinning machines we live in, all the early desires like wealth, food, water, money, family and everything else money can buy and can’t buy. Also, in these spinning machines there’s, anger, laziness, jealousy and every other bad thing this normal world has. We have a lot of choices while we live in the machines.

The flip side is that we are the only drivers ensured to drive each of our spinning machines, only thing we don’t have control of is the day we come to this theoretical world. Otherwise we choose when to set off, when to go, when to increase gears, when to slow down and when to stop. At times here and there, we get the chance to fuel up these machines, we decide what type of fuel to add, either righteousness or evil, basically we are in control.

Has any of you ever realised that, the things that happened to you from the day you were born in the real world throughout your lifetime are the same things that come back around and happen to you in your older days? An example is, you need support and care as a baby, you cannot walk, eat by yourself and more. When you reach your older days in life, you cannot walk, you need support and care. So, does this make u believe in my theory that life is a never ending spinning machine that goes round and round and then back again?

In my theoretical world, we have a lot of choices, but need to choose carefully while we live in it because the direction you choose to take your spinning machine and the choices we make while in it determines where we end up in life. Even the good drivers of the spinning machines in this theoretical world will never be perfect, it’s a revolving world where there’s no perfection, we all continue learning every day.

In my theoretical world, life is about choices and there’s a variety to choose from. Everyone has the power to make the decisions they want to make and we create our  own rules. If my theoretical world is the real world, it means we have the POWER to make the decisions we want to see happen in our lives. That means we have the POWER to make decisions that would result into supporting others, making the world a better place, creating equal opportunities for everyone, the power to continue to learning, to speak up and stand up for what’s right, to Love and more. And if that’s the case, why do we wait for other people or someone else to do the work for us if we also have the power to do the same things, we expect others to do for us?

Does the theory make sense to you?

Why do we ask and wait for others to create positive change in the world when we have the POWER to create and change it ourselves?

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – J F Kennedy.

MY INTEGRITY MEAN’T MORE TO ME.

“In the end my integrity meant and means more to me than anything”

“Many women around the world are actively seeking or desperately waiting for any opportunity to be able to have the chance to play football at any level. They want to get opportunities to do the courses to get better, or even have a chance at joining a team of their dreams”.

I must admit like my last blog, it has also been difficult to come up with the right words to explain exactly what I mean and what I want to tell you, mainly because it’s been about issues that have broken my heart. In this blog I want to explain what exactly I did while in Uganda for the last 5 and half months, to encourage you in whatever capacity you’re in, this includes telling you the truth about what happened behind the scenes of my day to day life, the challenges, the lessons learned and a way forward.

When I came back to Uganda in August, my goal was to successfully run the 4th Edition of Sseninde Women’s Development Cup which was amazing thanks to the incredible fans, my Sseninde Foundation team & the guests that made the day colourful for the under privileged women who always take part in our community events.

01

The other reason I actually decided to extend my 3week stay longer was to help steer the Take Flight women’s football Project which I had written and with lots of convincing talks back and forth we had together with the President, Vice presidents of the federation and CEO, agreed on a number of things in the strategy that would help take the women’s game to the next level. Leaving all the details in between of what exactly happened to bring this project to life (You can get some these details in my previous blog, ’Breaking Free’) and the changes that happened, I don’t regret this decision.

44b0c5e5-ffde-43b3-80ff-66201eae408b

In between the months I was humbled to be selected by CECEFA to work as a General Coordinator for 3 back to back tournaments which included the under 20 boys challenge cup in Uganda, Senior Challenge Women Cup in Tanzania and the Men’s Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda. This was one of the most amazing experiences because I did well and also, I got to learn a lot of amazing lessons. This was one of the best things that happened in my long stay. I want young girls to learn that there are no limitations to what you can do as a player, administrator or anything you want to try and became.

56536619-9400-46F0-B274-1A57140B9EB3

The biggest challenge for me was dealing with the federation and trying to do the right thing with the take flight project and then realising that almost all of the secretariat in the federation were not supportive, but a few. Most did not want to do the right thing. Realising the level of incompetence of most of the members in the institution was also was a big shock to me.

I love the women’s game so much and want to see it develop to greater heights, so I don’t want to accept being intimidated doing the wrong thing, lying to people that am doing one thing yet am doing the other, or be selfish and unsupportive just because I want to see things happen.

In the end, had to make a choice of either continue suffocating in the institution and do the wrong thing as well or stand by what I believe in, not jeopardise my integrity and walk away. 

Now this still hurts and personally I want to say sorry to a number of women’s football stakeholder’s who had hope in this project. Personally, as a project manager, I had laid out a sustainable plan for the short 2 years I was to help steer this amazing initiative in the pilot phase, but all crashed with no support! I was hurt because when u create a plan with big goals u want to see it come to life, one of the biggest objectives which was transitioning the league to a clear tier format system was started which I believe is only going to bring positive results for all players, contributors and lovers of the women’s game in the long run so at least am saticified for managing to push for the hardest objective to happen.

Just to let you know, like I explained in my previous blog, I had given up my career for a few months to help with all these initiatives, am now going back to London to continue my amazing journey. Am sad I didn’t get the chance to continue but then am only still in my mid 20s and I promise you, am patient and the right time is going to come around again. I will have the opportunity again and hopefully the system will have gotten a little better and will be more honest and also give chance for many workers to do the right thing with no fear to express themselves.

Moving forward and on a positive note, I want to motivate you all that my story maybe somewhat weird, unbelievable and controversial, but this is what happens in real life. You have to remain stronger and stand firm in what u believe in. Most of the time in life you will love something so much that you end up giving up the things that mean a lot to you in order to make ends meet for you or others but always stand firm so that u don’t question your integrity in the process.

This doesn’t mean you are perfect, but it means as long as u can defend your actions and what you believe in, then don’t be forced to do the wrong thing by someone just because they are in a position of power to make decisions that will work in your favour.

To the young girls, boys, men and women out there, Life is what we make it. Constantly push your limits and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself by doing something new that has never been done before. Lots of people are constantly threatened by your abilities and I tell you lots will try to use their power to make sure u don’t go up just like I was treated at one point in these few months by the same people in the institution but my say is you will always come out on the other side stronger and better.

1494c8f1-bb8b-4eab-9d10-ee23d6452442

I learned a lot of lessons about African cultures and ways, this doesn’t mean I didn’t know because I was born here but I didn’t know as an adult. I want to thank all Ugandans who have been supportive in this period I have been here, the general secretary of CECAFA region for believing in me, my incredible friends for the advise,  my fans, you have kept me going, my Sseninde Foundation team u have been family away from family, and my amazing parents & siblings who have always done an amazing job to motivate me amidst adversity and everyone else, your support meant the world.

One thing that I believe will take us far is being aggressive when pursuing our endeavours, being fearless while you’re in a period of transition while pursuing your dreams which isn’t easy but only fighters win, do whatever it takes to fight the powerful forces that could divert you from your goals and with this I want to continue emphasising this to the little girls and boys with big dreams, never be afraid to speak up loud your truth and stand for the truth of what you believe in.

80e9f5aa-0d9b-4d1b-96f1-68edec5e533b

Your integrity means more than suffocating while doing something in life that u don’t want. Because the point of this short life is to be happy and do what we want and believe is right. My dream is to see millions of women & men in Uganda, Africa and around the world get equal opportunities to be able to play football, do courses and gain knowledge of subjects they love to get better at and being in top working positions because they deserve them not because they have to do something in return to get them. I end this blog with a lot of positivity and hope that greater things are yet to come, it’s a matter of time.

Note: I strongly will continue to play a strong supportive role whenever needed by anyone and always feel free to contact me if you need help on anything at all.

6d170398-e5ab-4dbe-b56e-35d7b8b43679

 In the end my integrity meant and means more to me than anything.

BREAKING FREE

The past 3 months have been the toughest of my entire life, looking back though, I have no regrets…

Warning: Writing this doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the work they have done, in fact am grateful for the lessons I have had to forcefully learn myself first-hand.

I Didn’t know how to put this all on paper and I was indeed a bit worried putting it out or rather scared to write (Speak Up). Saying this has helped me get it off my chest and also to feel free, inspire others who are in the same situation that it’s not wrong to speak up and have courage to stand up for what’s right.

These horrible experiences started three months ago, when I decided to temporarily stay in Uganda and help with the take-off process of the new Take flight women’s football Project as Project Manager instead of going back to UK to continue playing football with my new teammates.  The whole point now is, I feel I lost my self, I stopped doing the things I love so that I commit to helping the women’s game at a level that I hadn’t before. I normally used to do things under the Sseninde Foundation & the famous Sseninde Women’s Development Cup to help women in communities and all over to have opportunities to play football.

What hurts me is amidst the confusion of deciding to do this, I was warned by so many experienced figures in the game including my lovely mother against doing it, they all told me it wasn’t a good decision because of the system & also it wasn’t yet the right time, I knew they were all right and I listened to the advice they all gave. I only decided to stay a little longer because I felt like I was letting down what my heart felt was right, I felt I was letting down women, I had worked so hard writing a strategy to help take the game to another level just that one little step forward, my passion to see the women’s game get to a different level pushed me so much to sacrifice everything that I had worked hard for to stay and fully help just in the initial take-off phase of this project. So that when I go back to the UK I don’t feel as bad that I didn’t do my part. I thought at least if I mentored someone and helped navigate them into the whole strategy, at least they could run it smoothly without my presence while I decide to go back and join my teammates who I had started training with briefly before coming back to Uganda.

How it all started:

If you have never worked in this institution you will never understand what am going to write about, or you will think I am a liar. Every day I got surprise after surprise at the level of incompetence, lack of teamwork, the level of laziness, the I don’t care attitude and hatred from most of the secretariat!

I was treated with hatred for being good at my job & for every time I involved others to work with me! I don’t remember ever feeling like that before or receiving so much hatred for doing a great job. In fact, instead the alleged bosses intimidated some of the workers, threatened them and told them not to listen to me. That is true because they came back to me and told me after they had been threatened!

The biggest surprise is the Master who I thought was not good, he turned out to be the one doing the right thing with the wrong people. Don’t ask me who he is because I think you all know if u are into local football.

Some of the young secretariat, are forced to do wrong and not say a thing, in fear to keep their jobs they shut up. No one is allowed to express opinions in the institution except if they are ‘generals’(executive) who are also barely agreeing on anything because there’s no trust amongst them. No one is allowed to speak because when u do, your labelled disrespectful, unappreciative and all sorts of names, actually, others even say u will never manage. Anyone who says anything that’s not favourable is allegedly attacking the institution.

During the CECAFA tournament, the same group did everything to undermine me because they couldn’t take a young lady being 100 times better than them at working hard. Imagine an executive who is meant to be exemplary having a routine of wake up, sit under the tree, go home and then get paid a big sum of allowances! They couldn’t stand a young woman giving her best & being smart every day, I watched big men everyday displaying how incompetent they were and struggling to make simple decisions!

 Shame I was excited to learn from them when I first came on the scene, but I tell you, I couldn’t learn anything from men who are old enough to be my grandfathers and not able to plan, communicate or even work as a team. What institution doesn’t embrace people who are good at their job? They instead pull them down instead of pushing them and supporting them.

Now, before you judge me and call me a lair, not everyone in there is bad, some are in prison and afraid to break free just like I was. The stage is open, go work there for just 3 weeks, experience is the best teacher, you don’t need a month to know how incompetent the system & some of the secretariat are. I will tell you this with an example, as the league is yet to kick off, licencing has been introduced, the one secretariat in charge of licensing put in a requisition to get transport & allowances so as to go visit pitches and he didn’t visit any, instead as I woke up, I saw a tone of complaints at the outcome of decisions that had been made over night from nowhere, I had to drive up my car to Soroti one of the furthest districts from the capital to witness the state of the pitch that was being rejected, good enough I went with him. The pitch was one of the best we have around considering the lack of facilities in our country, there’s even more to this, I may be labelled one with a loose mouth but imagine watching your reputation being damaged because of the incompetence of someone else not doing their jobs because they can’t be asked to do the right thing!

Now am not asking for a penny but imagine working three months or more without pay, or even facilitation for the work you do for the institution! Imagine having to do official work and being asked to use own money which u don’t have because clearly u working for free.

Well I don’t know the consequences of writing this, maybe very bad, but I know I have to pay for it somehow. I am brave, The courage I have had to have to write this I believe I have taken a big step into doing the right thing and also speaking up something I have kept on my heart for the last few weeks while I struggle to break free out of the prison. It felt like it and I feel like I have broken free somehow by Speaking Up. I want to thank my friend ‘A’ for writing me a poem about me the other day that opened up my eyes that am actually in a prison and have to find a way to break free out of it.

Am sad that doing something I love at this big level has to turn out like this! I am very strong minded and feel extremely disappointed for having been pushed to this level for something I really love. I hope before you judge me you try and seek the facts that exist to this story that I cannot put down in this writing. Thank you so much to all who have stayed on this hard journey with me, my incredible dad & mum, my friends who have advised me every single day and watched me do the mistakes and still continue to listen to me, and sadly those I have lost on the way, you have taught me to be tougher and have courage to always tackle issues in case u are away.

Last week I finally went back to doing what I love and that is to continue supporting and encourage women to have their voice, speak up for what right and also motivate them to continue playing football for there’s lots of opportunities now. I miss my smile. I will continue to also help with the project as I have visited all Super league clubs this week to continue sensitising them about the project. I am proud to contribute to the growth and development of women’s football around the world because it’s my passion.

What I have written here doesn’t portray or even compare to how terrible the situation is or has been, but it’s made me stronger and I have learned lots about the system. The past 3 months have been the toughest of my entire life, looking back though, I have no regrets because I have come out a better person with my conscience clear and mentally trying hard to heal.

AM NOT RETIRED.

“I am not the best footballer in history, but I-am unstoppable”.

You who keep writing me off, and wondering if am playing or not, let me hope this will be the best answer for you.

So my last year at QPR quarter way through the season I got a bad hamstring injury, which gave me a lot of issues, I didn’t play again till the last 5 games of the season which I played with the reserve team of course while trying to get back to full fitness.

Before I recovered I went into major depression, hated everything. The pressure I always put on myself to succeed is high so in this case I wasn’t even playing so it made things worse for me mentally and physically.

I wanted to play but couldn’t so I realised I needed to be patient and heal first in order for me to play again. It took me a lot of time to even get back the metal zeal to move on, get a football and play because I had stayed quiet about it, the fact that I wasn’t happy because I couldn’t play.

After getting back home and having a well deserved break, speaking about it with the doc, I felt better to finally move on. Cutting that whole long story short, Now I moved into my new lovely house, I’ve been so peaceful, and my one year with QPR last season in London ended.

Now after playing for London Phoenix, Crystal Palace Women and Queens Park Rangers Women, all in London for past few years,

I say goodbye to Living in London, to another area in the UK.

Am unto new beginnings, this time mentally and physically healthy. Some of you were writing me off and retiring me, I still have the passion to play and am not retired, will be the first to announce when I do.

Am Ready to put my body through hell to regain full fitness to fight for starting spot for both my team and country.

Am Jean Sseninde a determined, creative hardworking lady who plays football, runs the Sseninde Foundation as a CEO, a founder of one of the best grassroots football tournament in Africa, A Forbes Africa 30 under 30 finalist this year, Doing a UEFA B licence football coaching with the London FA, Human Resources Management & Psychology degree in the UK and soon to be a Project Manager of something really exciting with (WF).

Am just a different girl born in Uganda who is defining what a woman who plays football can became and should be like, exceedingly multi talented who will never put limits on anything they can achieve because, I may not be a legend, am not the best footballer in history, but I-am unstoppable because I have the power to achieve whatever I put my mind on to achieve.

Jean Sseninde -(The Fixer).

During The Bad Times.

Jean Sseninde, “The Fixer”

No one wants to be around you during the bad times!

I opened this blog to speak up and say out things on my mind. At times I take long to put something on mainly because I speak up from inspiration.

I have been running the Sseninde Women’s Development Cup for 3 years now and this year will be the 4th. Before I continue, let me take the opportunity to invite you for this years edition on August 24th, 2019 at Kakyeka Stadium in Mbarara, Uganda.

So continuing this story, I have had challenges, I have given everything on this road, I’ve put my career on the line, this road is very lonely I tell you this, endless sleepless nights, tears, at times mild depression, no one can understand it I guess. It’s like being on a battle field every single day. If it’s not for my incredible team, It would be hard to go on. So many people are not honest in there relationships with others.

At times people are only available when the bad times are gone, or when something to there advantage is gonna happen. Always watch out . No one should ever take you for granted.

My advise is, keep in touch with all people who matter. Be kind to others and don’t be there for your friends only during the good times. The bad times matter as well because that’s when strong friendships are built.

Amidst the real battle, fight fight fight, the only recognised place now days is number one so please fight to be the best in everything you do. The mental and physical battle, win it all. Have the right people around you.

In my case if your my friend reading this or even if your not, My name is Jean Sseninde and I fix things. I love to be there for people during the bad times mainly and help them fix the problem. So please count on me and always remember: Am

Jean Sseninde ‘The fixer’

4th Edition Sseninde Women’s Development Cup 2019

“The time is NOW”

The 4th Edition Of the Sseninde Women’s Development Football Cup 2019 is just 30 days away. The excitement is building inside me and I have a good feeling about this one. It’s the first time we are going to do it at Mbarara in Kakyeka Stadium. Looking back from 2016, wow leaps and bounds we have made.

I remember the first edition in my Maama’s office at 3am the day before the tournament busy typing team sheets, I was innocent just starting to break on the scene in the real world. Didn’t know what was coming for me four years later.

The sacrifices I’ve had to make to make sure this runs for the fourth year are just what I didn’t expect. The demand the sleepless nights and so much in between you won’t know of course. I wouldn’t have done anything without my incredible team. We started as 9 volunteers and now we are 52. Still can’t believe what’s happening at times.

Usually athletes take sport number 1 and I do as well. Can’t believe I put my career on the line for the first time in my life and I felt fulfilled. I feel my vision is clearer now. My dream is to see millions of girls get opportunities I never got and that’s going to be my fight through actions. I want to live by example.

As I continue to spend more sleepless nights, I pray and hope we continue to work together and support each other through it all. We can never be 100 percent but we can try to be the best version of what we can be because the time is NOW.

Split Second.

“Magic is created in split seconds and dreams are shuttered in split seconds”

I dreamt last night that I had no leg, in other words I was using a prosthetic leg for support to move in one of my legs. In the dream, I was wondering how I had got to that point. And also realising that there’s nothing I could do to change that fact, wishing I was in a dream so I could wake up healthy, but also realising in the dream that am not in a dream, confusing ha? In a split second, my life unexpectedly turned upside down! Confused with disbelief I had to figure out how to still be useful to others and how I was going to be the best at what I do with a prosthetic leg.

Mistakes and bad things happen to us in a split second. You lose your concentration for one second and it’s enough to change your whole life upside down. In the dream I wasn’t born walking with a prosthetic, I only got it at around 34. Good news is I woke up fine and had both my legs, phew! God is great.

This teaches me that we need to live every moment to the fullest without regret. We don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow so every second counts. Every second could change your life. Magic is created in split seconds and dreams are shuttered in split seconds therefore we need to stay concentrated and stay focused in everything we do because every split second counts.