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PÅ TRENING: Ann Aluoch på trening med unge Mathare-spillere i Nairobis slum.
Av Ann Aluoch, med innledning av Teddy Moen

Ann Alouch er en ekte representant for en av de personlighetene og karakterene organisasjonen MYSA har bidratt til å løfte frem gjennom sitt program i Mathare-slummen i Kenya. Jeg har hatt gleden av å bli kjent med Ann på mine besøk til MYSA, og det har vært et privilegium å få lov til å dele litt av min erfaring med henne på trenerkurs og webinarer de siste årene. Ann er en av lederne og rollemodellene på akademiet til MYSA, og i en krevende hverdag med mange gjøremål viser hun en fantastisk nysgjerrighet og interesse for å bli en bedre fotballtrenere og et bedre menneske. Derfor spurte jeg henne i høst om hun kunne dele sin livshistorie med fotballtrenere i Norge. Her er hennes historie.
Teddy Moen 

The Ann Aluoch Story

I was born in 1990 in one of the largest and most dangerous sprawling slums in Kenya, known as Ng’omong’o slums, where crime, drug abuse and poverty overpowers the present. This is one of the localities where MYSA runs weekly football activities, community environmental clean-up activities and other social development activities under Ruaraka Zone. 

It is in this community where I developed a passion for football where I used to follow my brother and played with them in the streets. However, my parents did not support the idea of me playing football, as I was a girl. In my community, it was considered a taboo for a female to play football and worse, with boys. Despite my parents feelings about me playing football, at the age of 10 years old, I continued following my brother, only this time it was in the football ground in Babadogo, where to my surprise I found an organized football league by MYSA, and without a second thought joined Blue Power U12 girls’ team coached by Florence Awino currently residing in Bergen, Norway in 1999. 

Since then, my life resonates around football where I played in MYSA league, and MYSA organized national and international tournaments and Championship matches which sharpened my footballing skills and talent. The league and tournaments created an opportunity for me to be recognized that in 2001 and 2002 I was selected to be in the Mathare United teams that participated in the largest youth football tournament in East Africa the East Africa Cup two years in a row. In addition to this, I participated in many junior national football events and tournaments.  After many days and nights of hard work, sweat, and desire to be the best, I was called up for the first time in the Kenyan Women National Team in 2013 and within a year I became the deputy captain, 2014. Since then I lead the national to great achievements where in 2015 I was given the captainship of the team, and in 2016 captained the Kenyan national team to the first ever historical participation in the African Cup of Nations, which is one of the greatest in my life. During my 5 years in the national team, I played 30 cups as a defender and mid-fielder, lead the national team in regional and continental show-piece where we became runners up in many tournaments, and qualifying to the AFCON being the best moment in my career.

AnnFotballBetyrAltFOTBALL BETYR ALT: Lidenskapen for fotballen har fulgt Ann Aluoch hele livet, først som spiller, så som trener.

Due to the success of the team, l was appointed to be the coach for the under 20 Kenyan national team in 2018 which made me the youngest national team coach not only in Africa but the world.  In 2011, I was selected to coach the under 14 Mathare United Norway Cup team, where we reached the quarter finals with the team. To date, I am the assistant coach of the Mathare United Women Football Club, MYSA Talent Academy Coordinator, and NFT Instructor. Being an NFT instructor has given me great insights into coaching and enhanced my ability to spot, nurture and develop children and youth talents in MYSA. 

AnnMedLagetMED LAGET: Ann Aluoch sammen med Kenyas U20-landslag.A pride that I hold so dear is that, of the players I selected and trained from high school to join the Kenyan under 20 national team, 4 are playing international football in Spain, Italy, and Sweden. Further to the above, the players I scouted and selected into the national team, 12 players featured in the senior women national team (Harambee Starlet) that won the 2019 Confederation of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) Cup. In one interview by the President of the Football Kenya Federation, he stated that, appointing me a coach was for women to take up leadership position and roles that has been past held by men. 

But this has not been without hurdles and challenges along the way that I had to overcome as a female footballer and teenage mother. I was the first daughter in a family of 9, with 5 of them being male. Due to this, I was tasked and expected to take motherhood role as my mum died when I was only 7 years old. Therefore, I had to wake up early in the morning each day before everyone to prepare breakfast for the family, wash utensils and clothes for my siblings and father and cook other meals in the course of the day. Perhaps this is why my father did not support the idea of me playing football as I was expected to play the role of a mother for my siblings. Further to this, my teachers at primary school were not supportive either as they considered other educational activities to be more important than me playing football. This is because, most weekends and school holidays I was expected to go to school for extra classes, but I preferred to complete house chores and head to the football ground to play the MYSA league, interact and social with friends, whom were my pillar of comfort. The teachers thought that football will take away my focus from studies and believed that the extra classes would boost my academic grade, but to their surprise, I was always a performer and high achiever in class.

In 2004 I became pregnant, which made my father furious and upset. I was only 14 years old, and had just completed my primary school national exams, the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). Things took a difficult turn, with a baby on my side, school to attend to and society to deal with, no work or source of income. Further to this, I had to move away from home because of fear. I didn’t know how my father would react, as the society looked at me differently, considering that I was only a teenager. Due to pregnancy, I could not join high school after delivery, until when one principle whom had spotted me during primary school games in the previous year followed me after giving birth and offered me an opportunity to join his school, New Jogoo Road High School on a sports scholarship. I am forever grateful to Rev. Laban Agisa, whom gave me a second chance in life to study and rebuild myself. 

14 years later, I am today a proud mother of Jane Hato, one of the top upcoming female footballer in Kenya, whom at this tender age featured in the 2019 CECAFA under 17 Championships in Uganda for junior national women team in Kenya. Jane in 2019 also travelled with MYSA Mathare United under 14 team to the Norway Cup where she was a top player and her goals carried the team to the knock out stages of the tournament.  Being a mother of a daughter, who is a gifted attacker with dreams to become a doctor and journalist is the most fulfilling thing a mother would wish for. Raising a daughter as a single teenage mother humbled me and gave me a rich insight to life, and zeal to always soldier on in difficult and challenging times. 

AnnTakkerTAKKER MYSA OG NFT: Ann Aluoch takker MYSA og NFT for hjelpen og det hun har oppnådd med fotballen og livet så langt.My past experience as a teenager has influenced me to form football teams and establish safe spaces targeting the most vulnerable girls especially those who have unknowingly fallen into the trap of early pregnancy. In this arrangement, I provide mentorship, football coaching and guidance to the girls including linking with academies and schools thus giving them a second chance to life.

The unwavering support from my siblings, MYSA family, the trust by the Football Kenya Federation and change of heart by my father after he saw my perseverance and success as a player and coach, having travelled the continent and the world, and Principal Rev. Laban is what have made me who I am today. 

I attribute all my success to Mathare Youth Sports Association and NFT for horning my coaching skills and MYSA family for their support and making a leader out of me.