PRESSURE, NOT FOR THE WEAK

Dear Reader,

I thought I had lost you yesterday and honestly I was shocked! You told me to go back to the drawing board, and here is what I found!

Not everyone will interpret your vision and understand it, no one will ever know why you do what you do, no one will ever love what you do more than you! Only you know your dreams and the standard at which you want to deliver. Life is new everyday and ohh my, you haven’t seen anything yet! Life is filled with Pressure! That is why those who are able to handle pressure move up the ladder and others drop off. Stick to your journey and don’t ever drop standards on the way to achieving your mission. Do whatever it takes.

Life is not for the weak or for those who give up at the smell of a raised voice to keep going when the going gets tough. So you can give up now, you will be served your meal cold!

Yesterday, I did go back to the drawing board, and I found out that most wait to join your journey when they see fruits, no one wants to be part of the times when you strive at the start! No one will know what you go through behind the scenes in order to make what you do happen.

So, yesterday I was allowed to be sad that I lost you, but today was a new day, I reminded myself never to lose sight and standards in order to accommodate one’s running away from pressure.

Aspire to be the best, push your limits and learn something new everyday.

From Jean The Fixer

THANK YOU

“I take this special opportunity to thank each and everyone of you that cheered us on from a far, we felt loved, supported and heard.”

One of the most challenging but enjoyable and rewarding things I’ve ever done.

Changing perceptions in a country where women are still yet to get equal opportunity to participate in sports , a country that faced war and new to the footballing community. We committed to using football as a tool to educate our administrators, fans, media, players and others. To empower women and girls, unite communities, promote peace, create a platform for all players, coaches, administrators, referees to practice their trade and create a pathway for players into the first active women’s National team, to build a fan base and more! This is only the beginning.

I have had an amazing opportunity to work with a team with which together we achieved incredible steps in the right direction, we have trained over 90 women coaches, 40 women administrators, introduced more women referees to the game, created the first ever women’s national league, re- activated the women’s national team after appointing the first countries women’s football coach. We inspired a generation of young players to play football all in a space of one year and it’s only the beginning. I am very confident as I hand over to this amazing team that through their tremendous effort they have been well equipped and will be able to push forward.

As I close this amazing chapter and prepare to open a new one, I will forever be grateful for the lessons learned, amazing achievements, new friends, memories created, new diehard fans for women’s football in South Sudan, a path created for the future generation of young stars in South Sudan to continue believing and playing football at all levels. I take this special opportunity to thank each and everyone of you that cheered us on from a far, we felt loved, supported and heard.

Thank you so much for everything Unwritten.

What a journey and forever Stars Unite!

AT DUSK HOUR

“We are not in control of choosing when darkness comes, but we must be hopeful to see the new light and hold on at dusk hour.”

“It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn” – Thomas Fuller

Last night, I stared at the darkness after the lights were out,

My mind went blank as I tried to relive it from the thoughts of what transpired while the lights still shined. Exhausted, sleep deprived, a whole weight on the shoulders of none that takes the glory while the light shines but on the one who ensures we get through the darkness of night. Moving very fast, my thoughts were changing at championship pace from one to another, as though they set their sights on an Olympic 100×4 relay medal. Reminiscing the passion that will never leave the heart, the countless seconds that helped turn visions to reality, and the standards that were raised.

It was very dark, thoughts roaming the mind like a restless ghost striving to leave its tomb, as though in a closed room, the heart inside terrified of how it would be able to mend the broken pieces off it! The mind staring at the heart, wondering how the chains that joined the pieces broke. The mind, as silent as a grave yard, it struggled to climb out of the dark endless high walls.

A voice whispering to the heart got louder, where is the strive? Waterfalls running down the stream to the base, dramatically worn away like a rock shelter, thoughts were running down the mind remembering the days when I had the shortest honeymoon. I tried to close the eyes filled with fear, the heart broken and disappointed but knowing sunrise only comes after dusk. We are not in control of choosing when darkness comes, but we must be hopeful to see the new light and hold on at dusk hour.

CAMBIOS

“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.

SSENINDE WOMEN’S FOOTBALL SOIRÉE

“we sharing knowledge in order to continue pushing to make women’s football the best sport for all young girls & women”

Sseninde Foundation is holding a Women’s Football Soirée on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 via a LIVE WEBINAR at 1630 GMT under the theme Adapting to Change. The topic of discussion will be How to Adapt to Changes Caused by COVID-19.

The aim of this webinar is knowledge exchange. Knowledge exchange programmes have helped different teams, organisations & member associations learn more, get exposure and work as a strong unit. Sseninde Foundation recognises the importance of bringing people together so we can continue to push women’s football to heights.

Speakers of the webinar include

Laura Georges Secretary General France Football Federation

Laura Georges is currently the Secretary General for the France Football Federation and a FIFA Legend. We are humbled to have Laura because she has wealth of experience. It will be a great day for knowledge exchange for all participants from across Africa, Europe and round the world.

Onome Ebi Nigeria Super Falcones Defender.

Ebi Onome is Super Falcons defender who has participated in more FIFA World Cup tournaments more than any African player male of female, a record 5 times. Her experiences as a player will help give us an insight of how she’s coped through this pandemic and how she’s stayed positive. It hasn’t been easy for players but in this webinar we are looking for solutions of how we can positively move forward.

Donald Rukare, Chairman National Council of Sports

Donald Rukare, currently the National Council of Sports Chairman in Uganda. Donald is also the current Secretary General of the Uganda Olympic Committee and the former President of the swimming federation. He has a lot of experience throughout his career and we are looking forward to learning from him in areas mainly on how women sports can negotiate and work with government for support going forward.

Ayishatu Zakaria Ali, Joinalist from Ghana

Our moderator for the day is Ayishatu Zakaria Ali, Sports Journalist and strong women’s sport advocate. Part of the International Sport Press Association as a young Reporter, she is also a member of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana and Member of the Women In Football organisation Ghana.

This is a chance for all lovers of women’s football to join our round table as we share ideas together with speakers across africa and Europe. We are all on the same team to adapt to the changes that have been caused by COVID-19 so we sharing knowledge in order to continue pushing to make women’s football the best sport for all young girls & women to have same opportunities to play and push women’s football to fulfil the potential that it has.

To join us Register by Clicking this link – https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sEHrEex2S7GASV9guV-ANQ

SAFE SPACE

“What is the point of winning it all at the cost of not treating everyone fairly or not including everyone?”

Greetings to you all. When I opened this safe space for me to express my views I thought I would be a regular but it turns out getting inspiration doesn’t come so often, yet I always want to write from the heart.

Today I want to address the issue of Diversity and inclusion. Choosing to write about it doesn’t make me an expert on the issue and doesn’t mean I am a professor of Diversity and inclusion. However, I have had my fair bit of experiences where I felt excluded. Many times we shy away from this topic but it is very important for all of us to educate ourselves and get a better understanding of what diversity and inclusion really means. According to google, diversity means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies and Inclusion means the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as members of other minority groups. Like I said, am not a diversity and inclusion professor.

If you don’t educate yourself or challenge non inclusive behaviour then your part of the problem! I am not always the bold one, and many things have happened to me where I stayed silent! No one should ever stay silent when such incidents happen. This kind of behaviour can happen to anyone from anywhere, be it a work place, gatherings or a football pitch. I have personally faced this kind of behaviour on the pitch before and like I said I choose not to say anything because, at times we feel it’s better to keep the peace of everyone by staying silent and am guilty for that. When we stay silent we don’t help others who would face this behaviour after us. I encourage speaking to a close friend in case you feel you can’t address the issue by yourself but confronting formally is always the best way.

Many times we are all guilty for subconsciously categorising people and having assumptions about who people are yet it’s not exactly the reality, that’s what we call non conscious bias. Always endeavour to find out the reason why people do certain things, that way your not guilty of having assumptions and treating people unfairly or putting them under situations where they will feel left out because when people feel left out, they don’t feel safe, and they may not be able to engage or participate to their full potential at work or on the pitch. Everyone has the right to be treated fairly and with respect regardless of their gender, religion, age and ethnicity. Always, let’s be thoughtful about the language we use when speaking to others. How we talk to each other both verbally and non-verbally matters. Organisations should endeavour to have diversity and inclusion courses in work places so as to educate all staff. Diversity and inclusion officers should also be nominated as part of teams.

We are all individuals with unique traits , respecting someone’s privacy is as important as letting them use their voice , everyone must have the opportunity to use their voice but also people must listen. Including others strengthens reputations, broadens the work pool, people get to share diverse ideas and brings the best out of people. Ensuring diversity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. These are unwritten rules – were using our common sense comes into play. Basing on what I went through, it makes you feel like giving up on everything!

knowing that you can be yourself and speak freely can create a happier environment to thrive. It also allows room to do mistakes and learn from them. A diverse and inclusive work environment increases innovation, creativity, diversity of thought and satisfaction.

Winning in life is very good, winning Olympic medals is great and winning football matches and trophies is amazing, but what is the point of winning it all at the cost of not treating everyone fairly or not including everyone?

LESS DISTINCT

“I can’t see”

Why has everything become unclear? I can’t see!

All of a sudden I can’t see! Everything has became less distinct! I can’t see everything else that is evidently right in front of me. I feel it, I can feel everything. Why is it so divergent?

I can’t comprehend it all! I am strong and I feel it. I know I have the power to defeat it, but I can’t seem to direct the power in the right direction. Who has the answers to all these questions?

Tunnel vision, it’s very very dark, I can’t see! Lord where are you? How loud does one have to pray? I am grateful you have answered me before but please Lord come back, come back because there is no one else. I can’t see!

THE JOURNEY TO INFINITY

“My God it’s so F tiring! I mean does any of you ever feel worn out?”

Where do I start? I mean I have taken so long without writing, only reason is because I wasn’t inspired. I write from the heart and so often I need inspiration to be authentic. I keep wondering, if I never get inspired will I never write? Is there anyone like me anyway?

The past few days have been kind of weird, let me also boldly use COVID19 as an excuse here instead of the real excuse because I mean that’s what everyone can get away with not so? You are fine one day and then the next you’re not! You have a friend today and tomorrow they are leaving you; you work had today and tomorrow you are failing! I mean you ask yourself where is God? (To my fellow strong Christian believers, don’t judge me when I say all this. As if u have never asked where the Lord is when u have gone through trials of your own!)

The journey to achieve anything seems endless, I believe the journey to success is infinity, and I say this because, do u ever feel like you are constantly working hard to achieve things? You achieve them and then you need to do more to achieve more and more and F more? I mean winners of gold medals in the Olympics and World Championships tell you the hardest thing isn’t to win gold, it’s to remain consistent and stay up there to defend your title. 

Many retired athletes who performed at high levels at times struggle to remain relevant, and this isn’t athletes alone its every single one of us in our different fields. How many of you have achieved something and u thought thank God this time I’ve got it and then you realised you need to keep doing more and more and more? My God it’s so F tiring! I mean does any of you ever feel worn out? I know the only way is to keep going and yes, it’s the only option but when should we stop to get a break? When do we stop to get a break and not feel or appear as if we are feeling sorry for ourselves?

The journey to infinity is not for the weak, it’s for anyone willing to give everything, sacrifice everything and I mean everything. I am speechless because sometimes people get tired! Tired of being judged, of giving everything and feel like they are getting absolutely nothing, at times we even question if we have given enough? I feel weak writing this, because deep in my heart I wish for the journey to be filled with Love, unity, friendship, happy tears and filled with strength, maybe then even though the journey is to infinity, at least we are not alone on it, will the pain ever feel less? 

WHILE IN LOCKDOWN

`The lessons we have learned during Lockdown should continue on with us’

Don’t feel offended by how you end up interpreting my blog. I however like it when different people interpret my blogs however they like because it means my writing is somehow understandable:)

I am not your typical blogger who is perfect. I don’t write all the perfect grammar or spellings and whatever else that’s meant to be in blogs, I write how I feel and I try to make sure at least you the reader understands what I mean. So to all you English professors sirs and madams, think twice before you judge my write up! English is my second language so don’t judge me haha. (Like I said don’t feel offended)

I thank God for we have reached this stage of life amidst this COVID19 crisis, I am thankful to still be alive and okay. RIP to all who have left us and my prayers go out to all who lost their loved ones, I pray the Good Lord up there gives us strength to move on stronger than ever before.

Now that the Lockdown is somewhat being eased in some countries, we should be thankful ourselves for getting to this stage, it’s not easy. My greatest lessons have been me understanding deeper things I necessarily didn’t pay attention to like the economy, politics, journalism and a lot more.

I never knew that one day, the whole world would unite as one to fight against a terrible pandemic that has killed millions! Destroyed the economy, brought sport all over the world to a standstill (Football and the Olympics were my biggest shocks because am obsessed with both athletics & Football). Everything shut down, the whole world came to a stand still!

It changed how every single one of us operated. Numerous challenges were started by different people on social media, not sure what everyone’s feelings where at the start but it sure was a lot of sadness because of the number of deaths reported daily in most countries.

I for one, I watched the news everyday for the first time, I also became an online show host haha, hosting the Weekend Star Buffet live Instagram whose aim is to give players a platform to express themselves, have a chance to speak up and for them to have an opportunity to give their side of the story to so many stories that have been gossip in the past. This has been my favourite activity. This weekend will however be my last episode. I will continue to have the show but not every weekend. I will host it as of when I have the time.

Myself and Uganda Cranes professional footballer Lumala Abdu onset of my weekly show`Star ⭐️ Buffet’ which I hosted on weekends

Another activity I’ve loved is learning to do my hair, I’ve done so many styles with my natural hair that am starting to think of styling all my neighbours hair and people around my community whenever they want.

One of my favourite hairstyles I made during Lockdown

Then comes the baking! I tried baking a cake and even though it was burnt, it turned out to be delicious, this was confirmed by my neighbours who did the tasting duties. Also made Chapatis and tried baking scones too which didn’t turn out so well:)

All in all, I tried to push my limits everyday to continue creating new things. This period however devastating, we got the privilege to have time on our side, well somehow. This was a time for us to continue pushing ourselves to the limits and was nice to see a couple of people doing live Instagrams/Facebooks. TV hosts hosting guests through Skype call etc which was nice to see that everyone tried to continue making things happen however way they could.

I also had lot of indoor workouts, I also created my own mini gym in my house which was cool. Recently I have also started drawing weekly meal plans so that I can attempt eating healthy again haha, as u know it’s not easy but am serious about my goals. I will take it one step at a time.

Thinking of it, we have all learned a lot during this period, (that’s if you bothered learning anything) and the lessons we have learned should continue on with us. That said, we still have many days left to the end of the Lock down, so please continue to stay safe.

STAY SILENT OR ELSE

“Stay silent or else…

I always dreamt of having my own house, years ago when I first moved to London, I had big dreams. I won’t say am complaining now, Infact I am extremely grateful because I never expected to achieve as much as I have at this point but ohh boy it hasn’t come easy!

The sacrifices are endless, the pain is endless, let’s say you must have the mental strength. I love going through it all though because it’s made me that one step ahead. I love it when am in the UK, because the people are extremely dedicated to what they do, they are very smart and there’s this toughness about them. To live in the UK, you must work for what you get. There’s no time for lazy ness and gosh I really do love that about living here because it’s turned me into a tough cookie.

To me the toughest moments are when I am alone, how weird ha? I always dreamt of buying my own house and wanted to enjoy living in it. Jeez, I achieved that and what I was paid for it is living days of looking at the TV screen, phone screen and the walls :). Imagine today when I went to this place about 20miles away from my house to do some kinda sports thing. I was so happy being able to speak to people. It puts a smile on my face and gives me rare energy. I must admit l am at my strongest when l am around people.

So what I learned out of this, sometimes staying silent is sensible but speaking to people is a route for greatness, it’s a route for opportunities, it’s a route for great leaders, it’s a route to being kind and blessing other people and learning new things. No one should ever make you stay silent because there’s no gaining from keeping quiet. Talk to people about how u feel and be honest. You never know where it could lead you.

“Stay silent or else… or else what? Never listen to anyone threatening you to stay silent. That’s an act of people whose aim is to deprive you from becoming great. Have good judgement, make a decision of what’s going to help you be at your best. Never be too scared or busy to speak to anyone because they maybe your key to greatness. Speak Up.