from Evalyn Nzilani Mulinge
I believe in Equal Opportunity
“I thank QSS for holding the annual QSS Sportfest again after two years of hiatus due to the pandemic, and for allowing me to play with my all-boys team. Neither my team members nor the other teams’ players made me feel different. We were all players of equal opportunity to showcase our talent”.
Growing up in the neighborhood of Mombasa, Kenya, I had a strong passion for playing football from the age of seven. Instead of playing dolls with girls, I was always in our compound playing football with boys. While our neighbors went on wondering and picking on me playing with boys, my parents did not mind watching. Thank God, I was blessed with a very supportive mother.
My love for the game even led me to play with boys during recess at school. Thank goodness the school established the Girls' Football League in 1995. I discovered that there were other females who had the same interest as I did, and we were all trained by various coaches. The name of our group was Mombasa Railways F.C. We practiced from Monday through Friday and on weekends while the school was open.
1997 became the deepest heartbreak of my life for me. I was fourteen years old when my mother passed away. I prayed to God for his protection and guidance. Some people might think this is strange, but I made a commitment to myself that football would be my life and my boyfriend since I did not want to get sidetracked and distracted from going further.
In 1998, God sent me a guardian angel. One man who used to play in the same club as me recognized my talent and did not hesitate to help me. I started training under him twice a day. He would wake me up at 6:00 AM and train me until 8:00 AM. He would tell me to come in as early as 2:00 PM even though our school team's practice did not begin until 3:00 PM so he could work with me before the team coaches showed up. I received encouragement and support from a number of other kind people apart from him.
I played for Mombasa Railways from 1995 to 2002. During that time, we won a number of trophies at competitions held in several countries.
In 2002, just as my football career was starting to take off, my sister passed away. I had reached the point when I felt I had no more need for Mombasa and had no reason to stay. In order to embark on a new path, I chose to relocate to Nairobi in 2003. There, I joined the Ministry of Sports team Minicuss/Moyas, where I played until 2012. Unfortunately, my work schedule prevented me from continuing to play. I had a difficult time making the choice because football was my all-time favorite sport.
Ten years later, I got lucky to be granted the chance to return to the pitch and play football once again in Qatar. I appreciate QSS for resuming the annual QSS Sportfest which had to be stopped since the pandemic and for letting me participate with my all-boys team. I did not feel any different from all players and it helped a lot to get cheered from everyone. We all had an equal opportunity to play and show off our skills.
I am hoping that QSS will continue to hold the sports fest every year as this gives employees the chance to do what they do best outside the workplace. Sports are one activity that draws people together.
I want to let everyone know that, if you have the talent, you should acknowledge that God gave it to you. Utilize that gift and cultivate it with discipline. No matter how talented you are, you will never succeed without discipline and control. Everyone needs a mentor in their life. Choose those who will encourage you to reach higher and farther without having any personal stake in your success, and never forget to thank them whether you achieve success or not in the future. And lastly, our strength does not come from our gender, rather, it comes from within. If you have a passion for something, you should not entertain negativity.