‘I think we are let down on several occasions’
The cocktail of what happens in this land is at least way more predictable than the British weather.
I’ve grown there. Unlike those who live close to the sea side along the shores of Entebbe, I live in a small town Kasangati. I love it. I have been there all my life and was infact born in one of the hospitals there. Am blushing now because sometimes it crosses my mind and I wonder if my mother’s birth pains were way too much that she couldn’t travel to a further bigger hospital. But I like it, makes me feel so attached to the place. I live in the UK now, but I really like it when I go home. During the night, I always hear beating drums from a nearby school while I sleep not sure why they always sing at night, sometimes it’s the loud music from the night parties but I guess am used to it now.
Last year I went to one of the villages deep in further from Gayaza for one of my football clinics, the passion I saw these young girls and boys display touching a football was amazing.
We sometimes take so many opportunities for granted but for me going on these clinics teaches me a lot. Football is more than just a game I always say. As a young girl I always trained and had hopes of playing pro one day. This is the dream of every Ugandan girl who plays football. The girls are so talented I assure you.
But sadly, somehow, I think we are let down on several occasions. A league was started three years ago, I haven’t yet got a chance to play in it but am sure is full of talent. I have heard on a few occasions teams drop out due to several reasons, at least two since the league started, most of them are always financial reasons.
What’s the hope of a young girl who dreams of becoming a professional to keep playing? On the national team just like in so many countries except Norway and others I don’t know of yet who pay the same salaries to their women’s squads just as their male counter parts, there’s a lot of inequality still. A good example of that is the daily allowances of 10,000 Ugandan Shilling compared to the 20,000 Ugandan Shillings the men get. By the way that’s 2 pounds and 4 pounds respectively when converted in British pounds. Imagine working an entire day for 2 pounds as a woman and 4 as a man…am not questioning that and I don’t really mind, as a player as long as am playing. My point here is the inequality. Why not give the same amount for the women who train the same, give up the same time to serve their country just the same way. What I mean is equal pay to the men and women’s squads for the same efforts.
I realise that issues such as Equality and inclusion haven’t been addressed in our country or if they have been at all they haven’t been emphasized. In my opinion I feel we are slightly left behind and need to try and catch up. I think we need to stop rejoicing when we are made to believe that we are getting something other than what we deserve or what we are meant to get in reality …well not sure many of you will get that statement but I have no better way of putting it so that it doesn’t sound as bad, I hope am also not misquoted to.
I have been on ground and have heard a young Ugandan girls plea in the so many community outreaches I have done.We should all have the same opportunities. Not just with football but so many other jobs to like in Hospitals, Schools and others. As women we need to stand up and start asking for what we deserve. Staying silent will never change anything. Am sure sometimes speaking out gets us in trouble especially in the African culture where speaking up and saying facts for the good of change hasn’t been embraced yet and at times is seen to be an attack towards whoever but it’s not the case.
Women of this beautiful pearl of Africa, lets stay united and not fear intimidation. Let’s not settle for less but settle for only what we deserve. Let’s stay together in this fight and make history. Of course, it’s such a long way but every stride in the right direction counts. Gender Equality should be our fight. Embracing inclusion should be the other where regardless of who we love, our colour or background we are given equal opportunities.We should aspire to be role models for girls to look up to us so they can believe in their dreams.
This fight becoming a reality will give hope to so many young girls who dream of not only playing football but other sports to and jobs to believe in the integrity of the system. Doing the right thing gives us satisfaction and we should all strive to always be brave and have the courage to stand up and speak up on issues that matter and those that will change our society for the better.