HOPE

‘Never underestimate the power which you can get from believing and having having hope’

Do you ever think about how many things we imagine in one day? I will tell you a story , seven years ago I decided to leave everything that I knew to move to a new country for a better life , to build a career that I always imagined in my head . There is always no guarantee that when you decide to do something it’s gonna happen, I think I Have always just had self believe that when I imagine things in my head they are going to happen. I didn’t know what to expect, I was alone and 17 at the time and I’m embarrassed to say that it was the first time I had even stepped on a plane to travel. I was more excited than scared to start a new journey where I could build my dreams from the scratch.

I had no guarantee that moving to a Foreign land would get me to live the life I imagined in my head at the time but I had hope because I knew that I was going to fight for everything that I dreamt of . Years later I’m still building a strong base to my career , isn’t it so funny to believe that after such a long time I’m still going ? but it’s because I have hope that I will reach where I’m going. Never underestimate the power which you can get from believing and having having hope.

Imagine all these years I’m still going and I’m happy because every day is different, I learn something new every day, I get something to make me happy every day even just by thinking of something nice in my head. And I have hope that one day all the hard work will pay off , now that doesn’t mean that it’s all going to happen but the hope that I have keeps me going every day and I will never give up.

Let’s continue to live a life where we believe and do things that impact other peoples lives to give them hope that something good can come out of the life we are leaving, that we are all important and equal. We shall all live a life that we have imagined in our heads one day if we believe and have hope.

Unexpected Twist

‘I want to see the younger girls who dream of achieving more in this sport reach greater heights’

They are so many of us in the world who have dreams and at times we go through ups and downs . Am not sure why for me sometimes it seems as though there more downs than ups? Sometimes I wonder if it’s our own making or not? What’s life nway?

Look am learning to be happy in my skin, to see what I can do better and what am good at best , to think a lot smarter and be more patient with life. Sometimes we feel sorry for ourselves to much and became crying babies, but every time I feel low I remember their are 1000s of kids in the world who are hungry and haven’t eaten for days, someone who was born blind and has never seen their loved ones, or someone who has a passion to play sport but has never walked at all. We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and get to work.

We need to show the world our purpose. Let’s always work without expecting recognition, sometimes personal satisfaction is the best reward you can ever get. I think I have been to greedy, I have dreamt of playing football my entire life And it’s all I ever wanted. I have given up a lot to be able to play and its been a lot of sacrifices to say the least . I never expected to ever lose this first love of playing football to instead wanting to help other girls to play it and rise to greater heights , every time I look back at this life of mine and football I wonder what a twist it has been ! I have represented my national team and that was one of my biggest dreams in this sport. Now I want to do more, I want to see the younger girls who dream of achieving more in this sport reach greater heights. Even if that means costing me my playing career I feel I want to do more because it’s just my heart, it’s what makes me happy and It’s my new dream and am happiest when am in the field on ground inspiring these girls to play football

So my message today is there maybe tough times in your life right now and you don’t know what you gonna do, but take one day at a time and don’t worry much about tomorrow . Tomorrow will take care of it’s self ,And besides we never know what tomorrow holds so we should utilise today and live it like there’s no tomorrow and do exactly what makes us happy and feel useful to the world instead of feeling sorry for ourselves .

My Random Life

‘One day I will be a legend in my own way’

Good evening beautiful friends,

I never realised how this would mean a lot to me that when I don’t get inner inspiration I don’t write. I really missed you all who continue to read from me. Sometimes I think of writing but I don’t and I don’t know why, this has taught me to always do what I think of in my head because actions speak louder than words.

Yesterday I had a bad headache, am feeling better today thank God for my lovely magical bed that always gives me more comfort than anyone could ever give to me. I miss the days when am back home in Uganda, where at times I wake up and get to see my lovely parents and have some breakfast . Here in London I don’t have that, I wake up to see the same walls staring at me everyday and my parents are not here , I don’t even have that nice home made breakfast . What’s funny is when I was younger I dreamt of having all these nice things, TV set, computers , now I have it all and what next? It doesn’t give me the love or comfort I need.

I have resorted to creating my own life, busy ,quiet, creative and dreamy. I dream of being a big star one day. You know when am invited for a legends event , I feel am the little one there because everyone is big enough and has made a name. Its not like as if am the best in the world at football, No am not but I have the biggest fighting heart and Mayb that’s the difference , my passion , the burning desire, and my time is coming , I just need to work hard and be patient. One day I will be a legend in my own way, one day they will call my name on that red or green carpet , one day life will turn around and I will have to change my lines and then my circle of friends will change again Maybe for the better as always. For my friends I lost, I miss you only a little bit. For those I have now, 😃 hurry up and bring those note books and shirts for autographs because you may see me no more one day haha(joking)

I decided to do all things in my life randomly,I don’t have a set program of how I should do things, I don’t put any limitations on my self because I know I have the power to accomplish anything I want in Gods name. I want to make a difference and to be a great woman one day . Working for the United Nations, UNICEF, FIFA, UEFA,CAF, you know haha am dreamy but that way I want to give hope to so many people.

I want to try my best to serve in the little time I have left in this world . I want to serve people and make their lives better. For now let me finish this so that I finish other assignments , I This is me , this is my truth.

My Powerful Friend

‘My dream is to see women’s football in Uganda, Africa and the World reach heights its never reached before’

Who gives power?

I don’t know, I think power is in the mind. I love working hard to achieve all I want, nothing I have got right now has come easy, and occasionally I stay up till late doing assignments and laying strategies of how I can be great. By the way its just a funny saying I always tell anyone who asks me why I sleep late. When I stay awake at night I feel powerful, there’s a sense of security I feel and can do so many things or rather I achieve a during the night. I always feel the power is in my mind, Been playing football since I was 8 with my brother at home in the compound and never knew I would fall in love so much with the game. From what I recall from the first match I played I was good. I played competitive football for the first time in my high school

Football is so powerful. The things I have sacrificed for this game always remind me so much of the power of football. I have played since I was 8. That powerful man who I had to go through to make sure he lets the other girls play, what do you do? You make the sacrifice for them. When I was in high school, the only way was to bring in players on sports bursaries to the school and yes, this paragraph is blurry but its because its supposed to be. Imagine starting the team for the girls to play, more captain days with the challenges, well my mother being a Member of parliament didn’t help either. But I did my best. Every morning I have woke up I have given the very best to this sport, I have given everything.

Leaving the country for greener pastures was about hope. My life is about hope. I always want girls/ women to believe that this dream is possible. I left everything I knew at home to come to London and play soccer, but it was to give hope to other girls and for them to know that all things are possible. Signing for my first club here in London, that story will be for another day. But I stayed three seasons at Phoenix ladies in the second division and then signed for QPR in the formally known English league. I wanted to challenge myself and I did just that. The sacrifices still for staying there amongst all the good players but all in all I enjoyed my time there. I got my first national team call up and had my national team debut. Proud moment of my career.

There was a powerful friend still were to blur this had to still be my friend. I will stop there without elaborating much but what this game does to us makes me know its real. The feelings are real. There’s no day that passes by without me thinking of what I would be doing if I had no football in my life. Leaving QPR for Palace was the hardest decision I had to make but for me to go was the best thing at the time. Short lived stint, much not said its football, I love this game. It has instilled feelings of love, hatred, the tears I have had, the doubts, passion, all have been there with me every step of the way.

I decided to add a twist to my journey where so many other girls will have opportunities to play like I did. I started the Sseninde Women’s Development Cup at home under the Sseninde Foundation. My dream is to see women’s football in Uganda, Africa and the World reach heights its never reached before. Being fully professional and young girls having a chance to dream and believe in the system. The opportunities I’ve got right now I want to use them to help other girls and boys, to give them hope.

Football is a unique powerful tool. I still think it’s the biggest sport in the world. It changes lives, it makes people and it changes people. I thought about it too much and I decided to take a little break away from the sport to run the tournament this year and yes, I have enjoyed the break away from the field. Very challenging but maybe sometimes it’s necessary. Football is very powerful and it became apart of my life 24 years ago, the most powerful friend that has always been with me, I have met incredible people, made new friends, made me cry, laugh , learn and do all the hard things I’ve had to do to get here but again we would do anything to get there right? Football has always been with me and it’s so powerful, it became my silent powerful friend from which my life rotates.

Football is more than just a game, it’s a way we can all use to express ourselves and I plan to continue this journey to inspire the world and help so many players believe in their dreams.

The 3rd Edition of Sseninde Women’s Development Cup

‘Thanks to everyone who gave us their support ‘

KAMPALA: Friday 17th August will surely have a position reserved in the history books. An exceptional day that saw the Sseninde Foundation in partnership with various sponsors present the 3rd Edition of the Sseninde Women Development Football Cup.

As seen from the previous two editions, the tournament has continued to massively grow and provoke a lot of attention from the various masses of the crowd. This is something indeed that has not gone unnoticed.

Sponsorship:

In this year’s edition, the Sseninde Foundation was happy to team up seven sponsors along with whom the tournament was organized.

These included the Sports Fan Magazine, Posh Junction Saloon, Post Bank, SocaLoca, Kampala Capital City Authority Football Club (KCCA FC), Hardware World, PakaSports, LA-CEDRI (Bureau De Change) and of course Fare network.

These amazing sponsors ensured that the tournament not only appealed to the eye of fans but also turned out successful.

High Profile Clout:

The tournament was proud and happy to welcome the chief guest Lydia Nsekera. The former president of the Burundi Football Federation. She currently seats at the International Olympic Committee and a member of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA). She is by far the most successful lady in African Football.

The other guests were Honorable Solomon Dalung who is the Nigerian Minister for Youth and Sports Development, the Ugandan State minister for sports honorable Charles Bakabulindi, the Fufa President Mr. Moses Magogo and Fufa C.E.O Mr. Edgar Watson.

The tournament also welcomed the Uganda National team coach Mr. Sebastian Desabre, the State Minister for Primary Education Honorable Rosemary Sseninde and Mr. Kizza Sseninde, lastly but not least, Cinderala Sanyu a.k.a Cindy, a Ugandan Dance-Hall music artist.

There were many guests including our mothers of the Sseninde Foundation and our fans that made the event one to remember.

On the Pitch:

The third edition of the tournament, just like the previous was held at the same venue. The StarTimes stadium in Lugogo home to Uganda Premier League side KCCA FC. The hosts that showed us a lot of hospitality.

Sticking to the norm, the tournament was to maintain a maximum of eight teams competing favorably for what was to be the holy grail.

These included amongst the following: Mukono Community, Talent Platform Academy Luwero, Kisubi Mapeera SS, Gayaza Women Football Club, Development Team, Kide Ssenyomo Development Women’s team, Divine Girls Team and lastly Western Panthers. These passionately competed for the ultimate trophy

Going by the amazing contest during the group stages, all the fans found it quite flamboyant and mouth-watering to watch the young girls selflessly give it their whole and playing for the badge. This knockout round however was indeed deemed as the business stage.

Kisubi Mapeera alongside Gayaza Women Football Club were the most nobly most impressive sides coming into the semi-finals. These were the favorites according to the many fans catching the games that day.

The biggest irony however was the fact that the two sides both managed to average a total of 7 points in their group A at the expense of both Development Team and Kide Ssenyomo that both made a single point.

However, the story was more or less the same in group B. leaders Mukono Community and Talent Platform Luwero led the group with a tie in points (5 points) with Divine Girls averaging the same points but getting knocked out on goal difference.

With group A proving less competitive, Mukono Community and Talent Platform Luwero, survivors from group B would go ahead to shock the audience.

The hotly contested semi-finals saw Mukono Community and Talent Platform Luwero make the finals at the expense of Gayaza Women Football Club and Kisubi Mapeera respectively. To many viewer’s surprise, the so-called underdogs fascinatingly made the finals.

The surprises were to still come. This time round, in greater dimensions. The most underrated side amongst them all, one that wasn’t fancied by many but just themselves. Talent Platform Luwero would go ahead to clinch the title.

They did this as a result of defeating their adversaries Mukono Community by a single goal scored by Nakagolo Jovia. That summed up a wonderful but humble tournament for this Luwero side.

We would like to thank all the volunteers who helped run the event smoothly, our sponsors , media houses and thanks to everyone who gave us their support .

DECISIONS

‘staying holy should be throught the year’

My dearest friend,

Am very sure you are well since it’s no sin reading from me.

I will be precise since I know you well and how quick you get tired,  you may change your mind and reading may became committing a sin to…

Am extremely surprised by how so blind you are. By the way staying holy should be throughout the year.I have been very patient with you since I am nice to the kind like you. On a positive note I don’t regret being a friend because you have learned a thing or two that are worthwhile.

Bye now, the sweet beginnings have sadly ended painfully but I don’t want you anymore.Am guessing the separation will purify you even more holy one. Let me stop here so u can quickly go into routine and go down on your knees.

Yes, this was for you unfortunately, won’t let you sin any longer by reading more.I should enjoy retiring from you my dearest friend not only because you are such hard work but also because am bold enough to make big decisions.

Its me your ever genuine friend.

CECAFA Women’s Championships

‘Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, always believe in yourself’

It’s been awesome to get back in the National side. This time being human not going to lie was a little nervous. The team did well in the African Women’s Championship, so of course my expectations were very high. Arrived in Uganda very excited to meet my teammates for the first time some of them. Something I’ve been looking forward to.

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The mood in camp was so nice, I enjoyed every minute of it. The girls were extremely fast and everyone was so enthusiastic. There was something different about the whole mood especially for me, maybe having missed out on the AFCON earlier I have been hungry abit more and I was very much looking forward to getting back in the side with the team.

 

Unfortunately, CECAFA was postponed due to the lack of funds but I appreciated the opportunity I got . I am very ready to get back in the side and content for that number one spot, I am fighting for a starting position on the team and being one of the older ones I embrace the pressure but also want to inspire the younger ones to believe in the power of teamwork and togetherness as we together fight for the win, I love my country. I have been on full time training with some of my teammate while we wait for the dates to come out and I must accept I have enjoyed every minute of it all. It’s been challenging but what’s life without the challenges.

I continue to work hard, work smart as I gain more experience and stay patient for my moment on the National Team. My moment is yet to come.

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Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, always believe in yourself and know you have the power to make all things possible by the power and faith granted unto you by the Lord.

ONE MORE HOUR

‘That last hour towards a moment could be the difference between our success and failure’

Time is one of the most precious gifts we have. How we use it, it’s always up to us but time waits for no man. I have also lived by the saying time is money since my primary school days. We always know when we have a lot of time on us, but the dilemma comes when we realise we are running out of time. Sometimes having an hour or a few more minutes towards an event in a lifetime to prepare for an occasion can be a scary moment. I have witnessed a couple of moments were classmates have panicked in the last few hours to an exam and some even ended up having panic attacks, thank God I haven’t had one ever, or to be modest let’s say yet( am smiling to myself) only because me and my younger sister often resisted smiling or laughing at anyone who got bad luck with fear it would come upon us to as a curse for laughing. I feel ashamed to say I don’t care now coz I think we all somehow have the power to control what happens in our lives.

Imagine that last hour towards your wedding, towards seeing your long-distance lover, towards giving birth, towards winning that gold medal, towards proposing to your fiancé, towards going for that job interview, towards the game, to wake up. So many thoughts constantly run through our minds, when the time is slowly running out on us.

I once had a close friend who was a school teacher years ago, we all know that kind of friend who means the world to us but nothing beyond. But of course, it’s always misinterpreted differently when you are a lot closer. That last hour on the early morning of when his partner decided to come home and let my mother know, okay let’s say report because that was her intension was the scariest moment of my life. So many things went through my mind those last few minutes when I knew she was coming through our gate, my God! I had had mental rehearsals about this moment as she had often threatened to some many times, this time she wasn’t turning back. I was nervous, I was scared, I was shaking, I walked out of the house filled with fear to check if she had turned up and she had indeed. I thought of one hundred things I would have done to stop her but I was frozen in the mind full of disbelief that the moment she had threatened of for so many days was moments away from coming to pass. I had no energy left anymore to explain that we weren’t as close as she thought because I had tired myself out explaining to her on a couple of occasions…whatever happened after that…its worse than I can write so will leave that for some other day when I get the courage. But I still wonder now what I could have done then to stop it, but I was only a young girl still in school… Don’t judge me you as if you have always told your parents of all your friends and relationships. And just like you, I hadn’t because there was nothing apart from a genuine friendship. On that occasion I didn’t succeeded, I had suspected the moment was coming for days and I didn’t prepare for it but in my defence, I was only a child.

That last hour towards a moment could be the difference between our success and failure, at times people give up with in this time because they think its too late or maybe they are overwhelmed with fear of knowing what the outcome is going to be. But like I said we are human and somehow, we have the power. Good preparation could be one of the ways we could avoid living in fear during the last hour and instead look forward to what the outcomes must be. we need to be brave, deal with the challenges, attack life without fear, take risks, live without regrets and even when we have one more hour, let’s stay calm and trust in our abilities. And maybe sometimes let nature take its course.

A UGANDAN GIRL’S PLEA

‘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. img_6238

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.img_6244-e1521985409623.jpg

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.img_6240We 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. img_6245

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.

Thank you

‘Thank you’

Nothing achieved alone is worthwhile. Mayb there’s I don’t know, am not a prophet to know that. But this week has made me believe in hard work. It’s such a simple word we’ve all heard a number of times and probably now take for granted. My way of describing this is sleepless nights, tears, missing loved ones, hungry, and even more . For some reason I feel I have not had anything easy in my life , I have worked hard and earned it all and where I didn’t work hard I failed.

To achieve a goal you must have a vision and the will power to go after your dreams. This week felt like a taste to what life can be when u work hard thank the Good Lord. I started my UEFA B licence on the 28/02/18. I wanted to do this expensive course for such a longtime. Am grateful thanks to the FA.

After making sure I will get my last two days from block one with another county, I guaranteed my invitation with FIFA as a speaker for the equality and inclusion conference. This was a dream come true because I had dreamt of this moment for a while. On the 01/03/18 I set off for Switzerland in Zurich. Excited, I got to visit the FIFA world football museum, was lovely.

Preparations for the conference were underway, excited for my first opportunity I woke up happy as this is the day I had waited for, worked hard for and I didn’t want to miss saying the right words. Turned out to be a good first time. I don’t regret anything. Representing Common Goal organisation, Uganda, Crystal Palace, Sseninde Foundation, Swdfc and many young girls without a voice, Incredible. I made sure I look the best I can, it came with a cost.

I did it, but I don’t say I anymore because am apart of a very big team. I thank my Common goal teammates, Crystal Palace, my Family, friends and the fans who have been there for me. I met friends for life who I hope to stay in touch.

This moment is going to live in my heart forever. I hope it inspires so many other girls and boys to know that dreams do come true . A team is better than one. Being selfish never brings results. We must utilise the need for one another to get the best out of the world. I want to thank each and everyone of you for being there for me. We are one team. And now I head off to Morocco for the CAF women’s symposium.

I hope to update you more and show u that visions can turn to reality. We are one team . With lots of love, thank you.

Jean.

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