Lessons aplenty for authentic Sseninde

Sunday November 29 2020
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Progress. Sseninde (L) last played for the Crested Cranes in 2016 and has since channelled most of her energies into coaching. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE

By Makhtum Muziransa

Jean Sseninde has her plate full but there is no relenting as she aspires to “keep learning and growing” to the best of her abilities.

The Ugandan defender and midfielder, who turns out for the flexible and supportive English North East Regional League side Wakefield Trinity Ladies, is more popular for her annual football project: Sseninde Foundation Women Development Camp that has given a chance to young Ugandan girls not playing in top-flight leagues to showcase their talents since 2016.

However, on Tuesday, there was more to celebrate about her as she earned the English Football Association (FA) Level 3 (Uefa B) coaching badge. “I am thankful that this (achievement) came through,” Sseninde, the first Ugandan woman to achieve this, wrote on Twitter.

“Your desire to learn, infectious personality and ambition to have such an impact on the game has been incredible to see and be part of,” Sally Needham, one of her tutors, replied.

Earning the stripes
Impact is what Sseninde, 27, is exactly about. She earned her Level One badges while playing at London Phoenix (2013-2015) and her Level Two while at Queens Park Rangers (2015-2017).

She started undertaking Uefa B in February 2019 – balancing that with playing, her project and ambassadorial roles for Common Goal (Juan Mata’s charity), Caf, Fifa and also spearheading Fufa’s Take Flight project.

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Part of that period also saw her nurse an injury that threatened her playing career so much that there were claims she had retired. She dispelled the rumours by signing up for Wakefield in June.

“I finished the badges in time but for some reason they took time to come through the system. But for me the determination to do all this comes from trying to show young girls what is possible. I am sure there will be more taking these badges,” Sseninde added.

Her schedule permitting, she is open to coaching at any level in the Ugandan football pyramid as her license is equivalent to Caf A. But she more attracted to the administration.

“I do not want to limit myself but I would do coaching just to share some of the tactical and administrative knowledge I have gained with other coaches.”

Sabotage suspicions
Her knowledge will be shared beyond home as she also signed a four-year contract as a football consultant in South Sudan when her two-year works with Fufa stalled after six months.

 “I have always felt like I do not get enough support from Fufa,” she added. Her suspicions of sabotage within Fufa have also forced her to forget about any chances of returning to the national team, which she only played for during the Cecafa Women Championship in 2016.

“I could not say not to South Sudan because I need every opportunity to grow and learn. I did not get the best tactical and technical support when I was younger so I am not the best of players as you know.

Therefore I might not hit heights as a player but I believe I can try to do other things that would keep me in the game.”

mmuziransa@ug.nationmedia.com

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