By Michael Kisekka
On February 19, 2022, when the Uganda Christian University (UCU) women football team won a game by 5-0, it was not an ordinary victory for the squad.
That victory for the UCU Lady Cardinals was against the defending champions, the Lady Doves. That game also marked the debut of Sinah Rother, a 19-year-old German footballer who recently joined the UCU side.
“That victory was a statement and a warning to the other teams about what we are capable of doing,” Sinah, who plays on the right wing, said. The Lady Cardinals and the Lady Doves are among the teams in Uganda’s top flight women’s football league.
“When I completed school in Germany last year, I looked for an academic institution of higher learning in Africa with a good female football team and I was directed to Uganda Christian University,” she said.
Sinah said she was motivated to come to Uganda by her coaches in Germany, who told her that the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) Women Super League was competitive and physical enough for her.
‘‘I wanted to play and compete in the best team in Uganda and that is how I ended up with the UCU Lady Cardinals,’’ she said.
When she arrived in January 2022, Sinah was told to register with FUFA, in order to be eligible to play football for the UCU Lady Cardinals.
“I had to get a football work permit and acquire a license to register as a female player with the FUFA Women’s Super League,” Sinah recalls.
Despite the hurdle, she is aware of how important the opportunity is. “Getting a chance to play for the UCU Lady Cardinals is a big opportunity for me and an experience of a lifetime life,” said Sinah, who wants to help the team win more trophies. Her coach, Simon Asiimwe said the team will benefit from her technical ability and game reading capability.
“I was overwhelmed by the support and the love the ladies showered me with. It made me feel at home and has enabled me to settle in fast,” she added.
Sinah’s biggest challenge, though, are the higher temperatures in Uganda, compared to the cold temperatures she is used to back in Germany, where she plans to return in two years.
“We were all excited when we got to know Sinah was joining the Lady Cardinals,” said Mercy Nabuloobi, the assistant team captain. “When we observed her train with us on the first day, we straight away knew that she was a great addition to the team.”
Hassifah Nassuna, the team’s captain, said Sinah’s exceptional talent will “help the team win the trophy this season.”
A second born of two children of Thomas Rother and Anke Rother, Sinah started playing football at the age of six with VFL Rheda. She then joined FSV Gütersloh and, later, DSC Arminia Bielefeld, where she has been for the past three years.