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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Common Goal

‘Common Goal includes everyone’

This week is special , something that I have dremt of my life is going to happen thanks to the strong mind I’ve always had to take big steps and go get what i want. Six years ago, I left my family and friends for the first time, boarded a plane for the first time and I arrived in a new country England where i knew no one. I was however full of dreams and determination to achieve my goals and am thankful for everyone who has helped me and is still helping me achieve just that.

I always want to have young girls look at my journey and have hope that their dreams are going to come true. Iam the girl who has turned into a woman. I have learnt alot of lessons along my way, I admit its not an easy road. The bumps I’ve had, I will leave that for another day but today , let me talk about Common Goal.

Common Goal is a movenment lead by players pledging a percentage of our salaries to football charities around the world. This movement started with just a single player Juan Mata but we are currently 44players from 6 continents and growing everyday. I am very proud of being the first African and Ugandan to join Common Goal.

When i first saw a post on instagram about Common Goal it was about Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe being the first women to join the movement. I was very impressed, I continued reading more about the movenment and realised its the organisation i want to be apart of. It is such a natural experience being apart of such a great organisation as everything thats involved is what I love to. The rest is history now. Being apart of Common Goal has changed my life. Nothing feels better than being apart of a team where we all share the same commitment of a footballing cause to make a difference in other peoples lives, it’s incredible .  Common Goal  includes everyone. Men, Women, Agencies,Federations, Teams, Media companies,Sponsors and the whole football industry at large .

This week I go to Zurich for the FIFA conference on Equality and Inclusion . I can’t wait because I have dreamt of this moment all my life. Thanks to Common Goal , I can be able to be a speaker and represent this great movenment. Joining Common Goal changed my life, I can be able to do what I love while being apart of a big team that shares the same dream. Am excited for the future. I call upon more players to join Common Goal for the opportunities  have changed my life and made me meet incredible people . Being apart of an organisation that includes everyone and strives to change so many others people’s lives is awesome. Lets not forget we havent hit the one year mark yet but already one of the biggest movements in the world.

Am very proud of being apart of Common Goal .

While its dark

‘The safe places are the ones with no light in them’

 

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Maybe it starts from within, I don’t know, but I once heard a confession in church when I was younger, a confession I didn’t even understand then. ‘God excuses the young ones’ they always say, because they are not aware of what they are doing, but I remember comprehending everything so quickly. Church is a holy place, and we all hope to confess and be forgiven. When a contagious disease strikes few survive.

In my case, it feels like I was infected immediately with a contagious disease while that girl confessed! Maybe it was because of my judgement, but in my defence, I guess I didn’t understand much then. Why I wasn’t pardoned, I don’t know.  but many years later I sin instead still seeking for salvation. Occasionally being my own comforter that maybe its fine after roll. Weather I heal soon…who knows? Will wait around, and hope darkness quickly turns to light soon while I keep trying to figure out right and wrong.

The safe places are the ones with no light in them, for there’s no one to fear. A chance to get naked and get to know who you really are, maybe that darkness you see when you close your eyes shows that darkness isn’t bad after roll because you get to focus. Maybe…

This life is a continuous process that mathematically seems not to be solved, scientifically it keeps recycling. it’s a never-ending process. I better wear my fighting amour because even while its dark, I still fight through the darkness for when the day comes I must be ready to attack. For now, while its still dark, let me fight on …

 

 

 

SpeakUp

‘always have the courage to speak up and stand for what’s right’

Welcome to my newly created website SpeakUp.

I must admit how incredibly happy i am to have finally made this a reality after thinking about it for so long.

I want to be an inspiration to so many young girls who look up to me and this is going to be one way to Speak up. My journey isn’t about me, it’s about so many young girls around my country Uganda, Africa and the world at large who dream of reaching the top. This website will show the reality of my journey , i hope this makes a difference to so many in the world. Let’s all aspire to be great leaders and always have the courage to speak up and stand for what’s right.

With much love, I hope you enjoy reading about the reality of my journey …

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