Jean Sseninde. File Photo
By Charles Mutebi
Jean Sseninde is taking her talents to South Sudan, where it appears from her new job title they are highly valued.
Sseninde has been handed a four-year contract as the consultant for South Sudan’s women’s football, effective next month, with the implementation of the Strategic Sensitisation Plan her major brief.
For a player who only two months ago signed a one-year playing contract with English third division side Wakefield Trinity Ladies, the appointment by South Sudan represents a potentially difficult balancing act.
But the defender says “no limits” can be placed on her passion for the sport, either as a player or an administrator.
“I will never put limits on what I can do and want all young girls to believe it’s all possible,” said Sseninde after signing the one-year rolling deal with Wakefield.
She added, “For me now it’s to settle into getting back to a professional playing setting and also inspiring many young girls in Africa and around the world that you can be successful both in and off the field if you trust God, work hard, believe in yourself and stay committed. Never allow people to write you off or define you on what you want to achieve.”
Her new job will open up another avenue for Sseninde to push for the development of women’s football, a crusade she has devoted herself too with various off-field projects in the last five years.
In Uganda, the Sseninde Women Development Tournament has been one of the most vital growth initiatives for women’s sport in the four years of its existence.
Sseninde, a member of CAF’s Women’s Football Committee, also signed an agreement with Wakefield through her foundation that will see the club send 21 coaches to “deliver exhibition coaching sessions with their girls’ football teams, schools, and communities during a two-week stay,” said the club website.
Sseninde has also been instrumental in the restructuring of the national women’s football league and she was tasked with overseeing the top flight. This is why it may surprise some to hear Jean’s father Zephaniah Sseninde laments her daughter’s ill-treatment by FUFA supremo Moses Magogo.
Appearing on a local radio Star FM, an emotional Zephaniah said, “I’m so hurt and so bitter that someone (Moses Magogo) who should be like a football parent and guardian to Jean has instead suffocated her.”
Zephaniah went on to add that her daughter may not get involved with local football authorities again as long as the status quo prevails.
If so, Uganda’s loss – and Sseninde’s exit from local women’s football would be quite that – is South Sudan’s gain.