By Edwin Kyle Kule
The difference between many athletes from Africa and Uganda in particular and their counterparts elsewhere is the support from parents and family members on issues to do with talent development.
Crested Cranes goalkeeper and skipper Ruth Aturo is not any different, the UCU Lady Cardinals custodian had to deal with a lot of resistance to develop her football career.
“My biggest challenge was my parents who didn’t support me,” Aturo said in a television interview with Urban TV on Thursday.
“They would beat me thinking I was hanging out with boys. They expected me home by 6 PM but instead, I would appear at 7:30 or 8 Pm which confirmed their suspicion.”
“But being a big-headed girl who loved football I would say it is okay and that didn’t stop me from chasing my dream,” added the former Kawempe Muslim player.
As a young and determined girl who had a dream of becoming a star, Aturo started having her way while in High School.
“I started playing soccer in S2 at Soroti Senior Secondary School as a striker then later changed to become a goalkeeper in S3.”
“One day we went for post-primary games at Nabumali High School in Mbale. I played so well and I emerged as the best goalkeeper.”
“I remember the game against Kawempe Muslim Secondary School in which they hit us 6-0 but miraculously they wanted me to join them and I ended up at Kawempe Muslim thanks to coach Ayub Khalifah,” Aturo revealed.
From that day, the rest became history as the custodian has kept cruising in the growth of her football career guiding Kawempe to their maiden FUFA Women Elites League in 2015, before winning three more consecutive league titles.
It was Aturo and other colleagues from Kawempe including Hasifah Nassuna who ended Kawempe’s stronghold on the title when they won the 2019 League title after crossing over to UCU Lady Cardinals.
Aturo who recently graduated at Uganda Christian University (UCU) in Mukono with a Diploma in Business Administration happens to be an inspiration to many young girls who want to be footballers.
As women football continues to rise, ladies have been suppressed and oppressed as they try to find a breakthrough and grow their careers further. But for Aturo, she looks up to Uganda Cranes skipper Denis Onyango for inspiration and guidance.
But the challenge to balance both football and academics is one that always made Aturo lose out on both.
“There is a moment when I got a lot of challenges in balancing football with books and yet I wanted to excel in both.”
“This was a time I had both national team games and tests and I wouldn’t leave one for the other. Because it’s football that is helping me acquire education yet I also want to have a bright future.”
“But somehow I managed to pull through by dedicating time and having support from my lecturers and teammates as well.”
Aturo comes from a family gifted with sports talents and this is proven by the outstanding performance of her elder sister Mary Achibo, a netballer with the Uganda National netball side the She Cranes.