The inaugural Women in Football Bonanza to celebrate those bridging the gender gap in the beautiful game was held at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel yesterday.
The event was organised by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) in partnership with Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) with their Guinness Uganda.
The event was graced by the attendance of, Ms. Meskerem Goshime, the Head of Women’s Football at the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and Dr. Ruth Aisha Kasolo, Director of the Private Sector Foundation, was the Chief Guest.
The three-part event shone a spotlight on exceptional footballers, such as Hasifa Nasuuna, affectionately known as the Queen of Goals, celebrated for her outstanding talent and contributions to the sport. Additionally, the event honoured the unsung heroes who have been the backbone of women’s football in Uganda.
The ceremony kicked off with a panel discussion and dialogue on good governance and its role in creating a conducive environment for women in football. The panel, featuring pro footballer Jean Sseninde, Referee Shamim Nabanda, Dr. Ruth Anisha Kasolo, Hon. Nakiwala Kiyingi and former footballer and coach Magida Nantanda, addressed the need for capacity building for women and emphasised the importance of providing more opportunities to women by the federation with in the sport.
Magida Nantanda highlighted the significance of opportunities, stating, “Opportunities are what we need as women in football. With good governance, I believe we can advance women’s football to greater heights. For example, the federation should enforce rules stating that every technical bench must include a woman.”
Equal opportunities were a recurring theme, as Hon. Nakiwala, the third FUFA Vice President, remarked, “Equal opportunities also mean equal coverage. Women put in a tremendous effort in the game, yet they do not receive half the coverage that men do, and this is something that we want to change.”
The engaging discussions were interspersed with music interludes from the Double Black Band and allowed for audience reactions, fostering a lively and inclusive atmosphere. Attendees voiced their opinions about the state of women’s football in the country and proposed actions for improvement.
Roy Ronald Tumwizere, the Guinness Brand Manager, emphasised the brand’s commitment to bringing women’s football to the forefront. “As Guinness, this is a proud moment for us because we are part of something grand. We are bridging the gender gap by celebrating women who shine bright in football, a traditionally male-dominated sport,” said Tumwizere.
He continued, “While acknowledging that we haven’t reached our ultimate destination, Guinness is committed to supporting and walking the journey with FUFA to grow women’s football in Uganda. Initiatives like the Bonanza mark the commencement of a movement for women’s football that Guinness is proud to associate with because it aligns perfectly with our core values on inclusivity.”
After the dialogues, guests were treated to a sumptuous dinner and an award ceremony honouring individuals who have worked tirelessly to foster women’s football in the country. Recipients included Rebecca Namyalo Kazibwe (Mama Beeca), Adipo Constance Catharine Wejuli, Annet Nakimbugwe, Paul Ssali, Ayub Kalifa, Chris Kalibala, Mayanja Betty, and the leadership of Kawempe Moslem School, an institution that has produced some of the most exceptional female football players.
The night culminated in a lively performance from Singer Azawi, who had guests dancing the night away, marking a fitting end to a celebration of women’s football and the strides made towards gender equality in the sport.