The evolution of women involvement in Ugandan football

By Asaph Mwebaze

Women managers definitely hold a competitive edge over their male counterparts when it comes to appreciating good work, encouraging personal development, and providing feedback. 

When employees are allowed to learn and grow, receive recognition for good work and positive feedback, they feel valued and perform better.

Over time there has been an influx of women in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League in various positions. They have taken positions except the position of head coach or manager.

Club president

There are not so many women club presidents in the world of football, but the Ugandan league has had one. Diana Hope Nyago’s passion for the game of football is unmatched by even her male counterparts.

She pushed her school team to the top of Ugandan and East African school football. She later bought Kirinya Football Club in Jinja and merged it with Jinja SSS becoming club president.

She saw her team grow in stature going on to record a fifth-place finish in the 2019/20 premier league. With her, the club was managed very decently until she chose to step down.

Chief Executive Officer

One of the biggest football clubs in Uganda – KCCA FC hired a female Chief Executive to manage the operations at Lugogo.

Anisha Muhoozi has managed to streamline the human resource department and this has reflected on the field of play.

The financial section also has stabilized as payment of salaries and allowances are paid on time and many partners have been signed on thus increasing the bank balances.

Team medical

This is another job that women have taken in the UPL. Maroons FC has since 2013 had Lilian Nansikombi as the person in charge of the medical welfare of the team.

It was usually a job for men and it was first a shock to the system of a male dominated sport.

Kits managers

This position is one of the most sensitive in the day-to-day management of a football club. Without a good kits man most teams would easily not be able to train well or even play competitively throughout the season. 

Onduparaka FC is one of the teams in the UPL that hired a woman in this position. Hope Letasi is the person in charge of kits in Onduparaka at training, home games and even on the road for away games.

This work is key to the performance of a football team and this lady has pushed it to a level her male contemporaries will struggle to match.

Club media persons

In the advent of social media and online platforms, many Uganda Premier League clubs have hired personnel to meet this demand.

The most outstanding has been Aminah Babirye who was first hired by KCCA and currently working with Express FC. The pages of these teams have been very vibrant with very colourful pictures, choreographed videos, updates and stories about the clubs. 

Babirye and her sister Aisha Nakato have put this position to fore that most clubs have sought to do the same. Vipers SC also has Sandra Awori who makes sure that Vipers is in our faces.

Fitness Instructor / Coach

Express FC made a decision to hire the first woman in Uganda to physically train a men’s professional team. This was a big decision that raised eyebrows. Hellen Buteme took up the job and is doing a commendable job and Express is surging up the UPL table.

Club Administrators

During Express FC’s reorganization, they also hired a lady to do their day-to-day administration. Trisha Ayebare, a sports management student from the University of Leipzig is in charge of the rebranded Red Army at the Betway Muteesa II stadium.

Good management and administration will definitely translate to the better performances on the field of play.

Public Relations

This is one of the roles that women have taken up in the UPL. Sarah Adong in the 2017/18 season was the public relations officer for Sports Club Villa.

She did a tremendous job especially during the club’s run for the title that season. Villa’s public relations improved tremendously. She managed to handle the rowdy fans at the club and the club fell short of winning the title.

Refereeing

A number of women have taken up refereeing football in Uganda of late. They were first used in the women’s game until the federation elevated them to the men’s game.

Female referees have become a good addition to the men’s league where there were issues with unfair officiation. Many times, games ended in controversy following questionable and suspicious refereeing.

The ladies rose up and brought back integrity to the games in the Uganda Premier League.

These Include Shamirah Nabadda and Diana Murungi, Lydia Nantabo, Marex Nakitto Nkumbi, Jane Mutonyi and Dorcus Atuhaire. All the above ladies are holders of the FIFA referee’s badge.

The author is a CAF B licensed coach he also holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accounting and Finance degree and a Master of Arts in Public Administration.

YouTube: Asaph Mwebaze Jr, Facebook: Asaph Mwebaze Jr

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