Gamechanger in Women’s Football

Gambia Football Federation has an amazing women football coordinator, Mrs. Sainey Sissohore Mboge. She is amazing, inspiring, and a hardworking lady with many goals for the future of Gambian girls and women. She is a role model and a game changer. We really enjoyed an interview with her.

Mrs. Sissohore Mboge comes from a single parent family and she is a twin. She was a national team player and played in Abuko United. She played one of the historical moments when it comes to Gambian women football and in women’s football in general, that was Azerbaijan 2012. She represented The Gambia as the spokesperson of the team and as a vice captain. One of the two lucky goals they scored; she scored the second one. She celebrated it as it was a world cup goal. It was a big achievement for her to score a goal as it was her wish when going to the world cup. From there she pursued her career in national team and at the club level.

Football female federation offered her a position as a female football coordinator. Although she was still a great player and needed in the club as a left footed player which is very rare to find in The Gambia, she decided to accept it. She sat with her mother, twin sister and brothers to discuss everything. Some said she should continue to play, some said a football career is to short, so she should grab this opportunity and take the position. It was a difficult decision she had to make. Finally, due to the passion, love, and willingness to make a change in female football, she decided to continue her administrative career in football. She was appointed on the 2nd of August 2015 by the Gambia Football Federation.

When she was going for the assignment, she was asked one question that she will never forget. They asked her: “With all your qualifications and with all what you can say, giving you the job, what can back you to make sure this job is given to you?” She said to the chairman: “My experience because I played the game, I know the game. And I know what women are facing because I am part of that.”

There are cultural barriers and challenges so sometimes is very difficult. She is strong headed and was fighting so she was able to proceed. It was and it still is her passion.

She believes she has an exposure because of football and people love her because of football. She is now teaching young children and focusing on education, which is the strongest pillar to develop women football.

Setting a structure was one of the first things they started to work on at GFF. And then organizing camps with the right people who have the same passion and love of football.

When it comes to women football it is much harder as it needs awareness and involvement of parents which is key.

Poverty is one of the main problems when it comes to women’s football as girls cannot leave their moms to go and play football. And if a girl has younger siblings, it is very hard to leave the house. So, they have a strategy, campaigns, and events to raise awareness so parents would love the game and minimize some stereotypes. They involve women and men leaders so they can help them to influence on parents.

Musa Sissoho, her brother, inspired her. She used to follow him everywhere he went to play football. She recalled one day when her love for football was truly expressed. There was a match at Abuko and after her brother scored a goal, fans of the opposite team attacked him. Everyone there went to the field to protect him. She looked at her brother and adored the way people treated him, like he was a hero or president. After that day, she decided to play football.          

When she was about 14- or 15-year-old, she was discovered by Abuko United, home team of women football. She scored a goal on the test match. They used to call her mosquito because she was small and fast. In addition to being so passionate, fast, talented, committed, was also able to dribble, left-footed and she was also supported by mom and siblings. 

“Leadership is not about the age.”

Being the youngest player at the World Cup she led the team as a vice captain due to injury of their captain. Leadership is not about the age is about how you can influence, take up the ball decisions, what you can give and how you can lead.

Mrs. Sissohore Mboge is running football academy for girls in Abuko. She established it also to encourage women to take up responsibilities as leaders. She wants to involve more women into leadership roles in football. That is the reason her academy is run by women. All the highest positions in the academy are taken by women. She feels she is responsible for women football development so she must take responsibility to set a pace so anyone can follow.   

As of today, there are only two female head coaches in The Gambia so there is a very big gap that must be closed.

Now she has a 3rd division team, under 15 team and a under 17 team where the number of the girls is growing every day.

Although they are financially supported as 3rd division team, the amount of the money they receive is not enough to cover all the expenses.

They are also not charging any fees for academy membership yet, but they are planning to do so in the future to ensure seriousness.

Mrs. Sissohore Mboge is now a wife and a mother. Her husband, Mr. Mattar Mboge is very supportive on all the segments of her life. He is the head coach of The Gambia under 20 national team. Although family life and career are sometimes hard to combine but they are working together, are flexible and supporting each other on timetable and activities they both have. 

She is sure that her son will be a footballer. His mother, father and even grandmother loves football so she believes he will love it as well.

Her dream is for her football academy players will play for national team. Starting from building a strong foundation in hand with education. There is a great team behind the academy, and she believes in them and in the future female footballers coming from Abuko.

“My message to the world is going out to the women; those who believe in themselves, those who thinks that can change the narrative, those who never give up. I would like to encourage all women in the world who are keep pushing, keep changing things and I know it’s difficult especially if you have the passion and talent. You might face it very difficult, not only in my field but in different fields.”

She encourages all the women to always believe in themselves.

In the end she thanked to her mother, husband, president of Gambia Football Federation, twin sister, family, executives, as well as women who are around. All of them are her strongest support. She knows she can not do it alone. There must be a support system and the team.

If you want to get involved or support girl football academy in any way, please contact her directly or contact us. We will get in touch and connect you with her team. 

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