The Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) and Guinness proudly honored distinguished individuals who have paved the way for women’s involvement in the sport.
The prestigious inaugural Women in Football Bonanza unfolded in a gala event held at Kampala’s Sheraton Hotel on Wednesday.
On the evening, exceptional figures in Ugandan football were recognized: Rebecca Namyalo Kazibwe (Mama Baker, RIP), Catherine Adipo, Annet Nakimbugwe, Paul Ssali, Ayub Kalifa, Chris Kalibbala, Mayanja Betty, and Kawempe Muslim School.
Mama Baker, an ardent Express fan and a foundational pillar in establishing women’s football during the early 90s, was posthumously celebrated for her pioneering contributions.
Catherine Adipo, a trailblazing female referee, achieved FIFA recognition in 1995, marking a monumental milestone in Ugandan football history.
Ayub Khalifah, hailed as Uganda’s most decorated Women’s Football Coach, has nurtured numerous talented girls, many of whom have ascended to the national team level.
Annet Nakimbugwe, a former National Women’s team player who notably scored in the team’s inaugural Women AFCON victory in 2000 against Reunion, stands as a pivotal figure in Ugandan football. She also happens to be the mother of Hasifah Nassuna, a standout female football player in Uganda.
Paul Ssali, credited with initiating women’s football in Uganda, notably coached the first women’s team to the AFCON.
Betty Mayanja, known as Ssenga, is revered in Nsambya for cultivating football talent such as Frank Tumwesigye (Zagga), Sandra Nabweteme, and Fatuma Matovu. Additionally, she serves as one of the directors for the Nsambya Youngstars.
Kawempe Muslim School stands out for its remarkable production of exceptional female football players in the country.
The event drew esteemed personalities including FUFA President Hon. Magogo Moses Hassim, Ms. Meskerem Goshime (Head of Women’s Football at CAF), and Dr. Ruth Aisha Kasolo (Director of the Private Sector Foundation) as the Chief Guest.
Meskerem expressed immense joy and appreciation, urging sponsors to invest more in women’s football, highlighting its immense potential for substantial returns.
Magogo reflected on FUFA’s deliberate efforts in empowering women in football through various programs and increased representation within FUFA’s structures.
Guinness Brand Manager Roy Ronald Tumwizere proudly remarked on Guinness’s commitment to bridging the gender gap by spotlighting women who excel in the traditionally male-dominated football arena.
The evening’s agenda featured three enlightening panel discussions addressing diverse facets of women in football, ranging from playing, coaching, and refereeing to governance and the business aspects of the sport.