As the third edition of the FUFA Women Cup returned with the round of 32, one moment stood out, Uganda Martyrs defeated Watoto women 10-0. But that’s not the story, Uganda Martyrs’ skipper who also plays as a defender Shadia Nankya scored seven of those ten goals. Football-256’s Shafic Mutebi tells her story.
Indeed Women’s football in Uganda started way back in 1994 with great trends over the years. Since the start of the Fufa Women Elite League in 2015, there is much evidence that the game has grown and taking steady progress.
Having the league played on a regular basis has really improved the quality and ability of women playing a game dominated by men. At least every year, the game has produced new stars who are ready to take the mantle from those of the past.
Uganda Martyr’s High School has one in the making, if she is not a star already, center back Shadia Nankya is no doubt one of the most improved, established and aggressive footballers in the country currently.
She is mostly remembered for her brilliant performance at the 2018 CECAFA and COSAFA women championship in Rwanda and South Africa respectively.
Nankya is not just a part of the Uganda Martyrs team, she is their captain, a leader who actually leads by example at the back and upfront if called up.
Because of her exploits, she managed to find her place on the national team (Crested Cranes) and after the departure of Yudaya Nakayenze to USA she cemented her place as arguably the best defender in the country.
An imposing presence, but easy- going and good humored, Nankya is now popular in the country for scoring goals yet she is a defender.
“I do score due to the demands of my team,” Nankya told www.football-256.com. “It has always been part of me to help the team when things don’t seem to be going according to the plan.”
With the seven against Watoto Women, Nankya is already the leading scorer of the 2019 FUFA Women Cup, she has scored 17 goals in the last two seasons.
The 18 year old was born on November 25th, 2001 to Kasimu Kizito and Rehema Nampijja, her education journey started at Kiwatule Parents Preparatory School.
She later joined Mt St Henry’s High School in Mukono for her senior one, then Kasangati Education School for senior two for only one term. She joined Uganda martyrs where she completed her high school.
“My education journey has not been so difficult, I won a bursary in my primary because I had a talent in music, dance and drama.
“The challenge came in senior one but things got better after joining Uganda Martyr’s and this time winning a bursary because of football talent.
“I have played for one school and one club in my entire footballing life so far and that is Uganda Martyrs,” She added.
It is always tough for any ordinary Ugandan footballer to rise through the ranks, majority of them come from humble backgrounds and Nankya is not exceptional.
“As every footballer, my dream is to play professional football at least that is what I try to work for, though sometimes there many disappointments,” she narrated declining to go into much details
Her first call up for the national team was a beginning of the professional journey she dreams of and she is not willing to look back.
Was so happy for the call up, but now I have to work hard to stay on the team.” “And winning two man of the match accolades in COSAFA in front of the crowd is the best moment so far in my football career.”
Nankya is not intimidated by the bigger, stronger, and taller opponents, the experience she has gained over the years is what has taken her game to the next level. And she is her own motivation.
“I don’t have a role model, am a role model to myself. I am who I am because of football,” she noted. “I have achieved many things in football like, accolades, education, and popularity though have not yet won a trophy at a big tournament which am working very hard to achieve for my club and country,” she added.
As many footballers around the globe Nankya also has a worst moment in her football career which she thinks hindered her from winning at least a trophy for her school.
“The year they banned my school from playing football was totally unacceptable and I don’t want to think about it even.”
Uganda Martyrs were banned for a year for playing with an ineligible player, a season many thought they were in the running or a championship.
Nankya’s target this season is to at least help her team win the League or the women Cup and of course score more important goals for club and country.
FUFA Women Cup Round of 32
Rines SS 0 (2) – 0 (4) Divine Girls
UCU Lady Cardinals 1-3 Kawempe Muslim
Olila High School – Amuria High (Amuria didn’t travel)
Makerere University – Town View SS (Town View didn’t travel)
Uganda Martyrs 10- 0 Watoto WFC
Kumi University – Echos High School (Kumi didn’t turn)
Asubo Gafford Ladies 6- 0 Luweero Women
Kamodi High 0 – 4 Sagich Royal
She Corporates 1- 0 Ajax Queens
Jerome Uganda 0 (2) – 0 (4) Mwanda Foundation
Kawempe Junior 3-0 High land SS