The inaugural Women in Football Bonanza was held on Wednesday, 29th November 2023 at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala . The event was aimed at reminiscing about the men and women who laid a blue print for women’s football in Uganda, discussing achievements attained so far as well as forging a way forward for women’s football.
The event was graced by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) President Hon. Magogo Moses Hassim, First FUFA Vice President Justus Mugisha, Third FUFA Vice President Hon. Nakiwala Kiyingi who was also the chairperson of the organising committe for the Bonanza and FUFA Executive Committee Members. Goshime Meskerem, the Head of Women’s Football at CAF also attended the event. Dr. Aisha Ruth Biyinzika Kasolo, the Project Director at Private Sector Foundation was the Guest of Honour.
The other notable personalities included Hon. Asuman Basalirwa, Member of Parliament for Bugiri Municipality, Margret Kubingi, the Chairperson of the Uganda Women Football Association and Owek. Florence Bagunywa Nkalabo among others. Various sponsor representatives were also in the house.
Running under the theme ‘Football a vehicle for National Development and Unity,’ the event which was organized by FUFA was powered by Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) throughout their brand Guinness. Finance Trust Bank also partnered for the same cause.
Roy Ronald Tumwizere, the Guinness Brand Manager, emphasised the brand’s commitment to bringing women’s football to the forefront and their commitment to the inaugural Women in Football Bonanza was just the beginning.
“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,” Tumwizere said at the bonanza adding that; “growth is a journey that begins with small steps and initiatives like this bonanza mark the commencement of a movement for women’s football that Guinness will proudly associate with because it aligns with our on going campaign BLACK SHINES BRIGHTEST.”
“This is definitely not a one-off from Guinness, we have a long term commitment and recently signed a contract to show our commitment and initiative for the next few years ahead. We want to redefine a narrative around women in sports and provide support by casting a spotlight on their achievements,” Tumwizere added.
The Bonanza started with topical discussions with different personalities sharing views on specific topics.
The first panel hosted by Hon. Nakiwala focused on Football the Sport and made recommendations on how women can improve in areas of playing, refereeing, coaching and administration among others.
The panelists included FIFA Female referee Shamirah Nabadda, Crested Cranes midfielder Shamirah Nalugya, CAF Coaches’ Instructor Majidah Nantanda and KCCA FC CEO Anisha Muhoozi.
The second panel dwelled on governance of the sport with the discussion hinged around capacity building, ownership and administration of clubs/teams.
Hosted by CAF and FIFA Referees Instructor Catherine Adipo, the panel had former Crested Cranes defender Jean Sseninde, She Corporate FC Chairman Richard Kawere, FUFA Club Licensing Manager Sheila Nakagwa and Kampala Queens FC team Doctor Ronald Mutebi.
The last panel discussed the business side of the game and the panelists included Finance Trust Bank Managing Director Ann Nakawunde Mulindwa, Julius Mugisa, Chairman Lady Doves FC, Helen Nakimuli, the Woman Member of Parliament for Kalangala District, Roy Ronald Tumwizere the Brand Manager Guinness- Uganda hosted by FUFA Executive Committee Member and Head of Marketing & Communications Committee Rogers Byamukama.
FUFA President Hon. Magogo was delighted for the strides women’s football has made over the years.
“I am proud that we have reached this far. The start was never easy but to see that men and women who have served football are celebrated at special events like this one gives me satisfaction. As FUFA, we have been deliberate about Women in Football, including increasing their numbers in the FUFA Assembly, employing them at FUFA and empowering the women football leagues & national teams among other programmes.” He said.
Meskerem from CAF lauded FUFA for giving women a platform to show their adeptness, encouraged more women to get into the game despite the challenges and called for increased funding towards women in football.
“I appreciate FUFA for inviting me here as we celebrate Women in Football. I’m extremely over joyed with what I have seen here in Uganda.” She started.
“Working in football poses challenges, but I have never backed down, recognizing that giving up would deny the next generation a chance to shine. I urge the sponsors to please invest and give attention to women football because the returns are alway immense.” Meskerem added.
Dr. Aisha Kasolo who was the Guest of Honour called upon women to work hard and remain focused despite working in a male dominated industry.
“Engaging in this game doesn’t diminish your identity as a woman. We must mentor these women to aspire beyond boundaries, excelling not only in Uganda but globally. Success as a woman requires courage; to overcome barriers, you must surpass expectations set for men.”
She promised to provide 150M to FUFA to support Women in Football activities.
Hon. Nakiwala who was the brain behind the event indicated this was the start of better things to come in the near future.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to pull off a well organized event. The success of this Bonanza will only be a spark for more activities and opportunities for women who are serving in football.” She said.
Several personalities were awarded on the night for their contribution to the game.
These included; Paul Ssali, Annet Nakimbugwe, Rebecca Namyalo (RIP), Betty Mayanja, Ayub Khalifa Kiyingi, Chris Kalibbala, Catherine Adipo and Kawempe Muslim SS.
The night climaxed with music performance from Azawi and the Black Roots Band.