I had a one on one interview with Crested Cranes and Vihiga Queens FC in Kenya midfield Nabirye Joan, she talks about her football journey, achievements and her next move when the football career comes to an end.
Who is Nabirye Joan?
I am Nabirye Joan, Ugandan by nationality, from a family of 10 children and I am the 8th child in our family. I am from Iganga district.
What was your first professional club to play for?
My first professional club is Vihiga Queens FC in Kenya, I joined in 2020 but I first played for Mutesa Royal University FC for only one season in 2018 and Asubo Gafford Ladies FC 2018-2019 before joining Vihiga Queens FC.
You are playing your trade football in Kenya at this young age, how did the move to Kenya happen and what is the name of the club you play for?
I used to train with boys whenever I returned home and some of those boys that are men now and professional players and by then they used to play for Vihiga United FC and Western Stima FC, Kamwani Alex and Abaliwano Joel are there names .
Those two friends of mine approached me and asked me if I can do trials and my response was positive because I like trying. They worked on everything that was needed for me to enter Kenya but I remember promising them that “I will make it” cause I had belief in me and I trusted God .
I did it and that’s how the Kenya move happened. I Thank Alex Waiswa and Joel Abaliwano for trying me, may the Almighty bless them abundantly.
And now I play for Vihiga Queens FC in Kenya.
Would wish to renew the contract with the club?
Yes but my contract is still running but I can be released in case I get any better deals.
How has the club performed in the recent concluded 2021/2022 Kenya Women’s league?
My club has performed very well and it’s a legacy for the club, in 2021 my club and I won the first ever CECAFA women qualifiers and also second runners up in the FKF Cup, and that meant everything to me.
We are on top of the FKF Women Premier League table and already won the 2021/2022 title unbeaten ,it’s the first time my club winning the title unbeaten.
How hard or easy was it for you and your club being crowned the CECAFA Women Club Champions last year?
It was hard at first because the group stages were really hard but we fought and reached the semi finals where we played with Simba Queens of Tanzania and we won 2:1, it was easy for us to win the trophy cause we met the club that we had already faced in the group stages and we had mastered their style of play ( CBE of Ethiopia).
Would you at one point love to play trade football in the Europe, and If yes, in which club?
Of course yes, it’s every players dream and wish to play in Europe. I wish to play in countries like German, France, Sweden, Spain and Cyprus. And its my wish to join clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal women’s team.
In which year were you first summoned on the Uganda National women’s team and how did the news find you?
I was first summoned on the national team in 2021, my first call up on the national team found me ready because I was in the dressing room on the final day of CECAFA Women Qualifiers, so I played knowing that my country also need my services at any time and I thank everyone for the support they gave me then till now and I also thank head coach Lutalo for thinking about me too.
How was the mood like in camp after your debut and against which country?
Definitely I was really happy cause it was my first call up, we prepared for the first tournament that was COSAFA in South Africa where we came out second in the group stages, since it was my first time to represent my country, I just thanked God for the position he put us in and also for my goal, my first game was against Namibia that ended goalless.
You are among the players selected to represent Uganda in the current CECAFA Senior Women’s Championship at the Njeru FUFA technical center. What should Ugandans expect from the team?
I thank God I was again summoned to represent my country in CECAFA Senior Women Championship for the first time once again.
We, Crested cranes have prepared very well so let every Ugandan expect the CECAFA trophy to stay home.
Who is your best player you have played with since you started playing football?
Terry Engesha former Vihiga Queens FC player is the best player that I have ever played with because she has all the qualities of a complete striker.
Joan, what is your greatest achievement in the game of football?
My greatest achievement is winning the first Totalenergies Women Championship that was held in Kenya and also receiving a call up on the national team.
Being a lady, what challenges have you faced in the game of football?
Just normal challenges just like any other person would face but by the help of God I manage to jungle them out.
Who has been your best coach to work with?
Head Coach of the Uganda Women national team, Lutato George William because he trusts all the players that he summons and Coach Alex Alumirah former Vihiga Queens FC coach because he was tough but taught me how to play defensive midfield .
Thanks coach Alex Alumirah, I am forever grateful.
What do you plan to do after retiring from active football?
I plan to do my own businesses or even be a coach too. I would love to bless my talent with other ladies out there and achieve more than I would have achieved from football and that will make me happy.
In your last words, what kind of advise would you give to a young girl out there who would wish to also play professional football?
I would like to thank whoever that has been in this journey of mine for the support, motivation and encouragement .
All my coaches both from home, in all the schools I attended, and the clubs I have played for, my family members, “maama ni baaba mwebale inho”.
May the Almighty bless you all
“football is all about discipline, prayers, hard work, patience and also self belief “