In the heart of Trans Nzoia County, amid the picturesque rolling hills and verdant landscapes, an inspiring story of unyielding determination and passion unfolds on the football field.
Meet Monicah Masega, a 28-year-old dynamo who has not only shattered gender barriers but has also defied societal norms by playing football while pregnant at Sidindi Primary School in Ugunja, Siaya County.
As the sun gracefully sets, casting a warm embrace over the pitch, Masega’s indomitable spirit takes center stage, showcasing a boundless love for football that knows no bounds.
Monicah had journeyed for miles to participate in the inaugural United Nations Football for the Goals tournament, an event dedicated to championing the Sustainable Development Goals and fostering sustainable practices.
Within the ranks of Vihiga Leeds FC, a local team renowned for their unwavering dedication, Masega serves as the heartbeat of the squad.
With every precise dribble and daring sprint, she leaves spectators awestruck, prompting the inevitable question: How does she manage it? The answer, though simple, is profoundly captivating – sheer determination.
Amid a time when most expectant mothers might opt for a period of rest and prioritize their well-being, Masega has embarked on a remarkable journey that harmonizes two of her greatest loves – football and motherhood.
As the gentle breeze dances through the goalposts and the harmonious chants of fervent supporters fill the air, Masega’s path to this moment is nothing short of inspirational.
Raised in a community where football was often regarded as a male-dominated pursuit, she defied stereotypes from a tender age, beginning her journey at Namawanga D.E.B, Masaba, and St Veronicah Masuno Primary Schools.
As a child, she dedicated countless hours to honing her skills, chasing the radiant dream of becoming a football icon. Her backyard transformed into a sacred training ground, bearing witness to her tireless pursuit of excellence.
A natural talent was nurtured, her skills blossoming like wildflowers in an open field. Over time, her parents, who initially questioned her unconventional choice of sport, evolved into her most ardent supporters, marveling at her unwavering dedication.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Masega’s narrative takes an extraordinary turn. Standing proudly on the pitch, she reveals that she played football while six months pregnant, radiating resilience and an unwavering passion for the sport.
In a world that often imposes limitations on women’s achievements, Monicah’s unwavering determination stands as a testament to the unbreakable spirit capable of conquering any obstacle.
Her decision to persist with football during pregnancy was no casual choice.
“In football, I discovered more than just a game; I found a canvas on which to paint my dreams and rewrite the rules. Pregnancy didn’t define me; it empowered me. Playing football at six months pregnant was not about defying norms; it was about embracing the extraordinary potential of the human body.”
“Through football, I play not just for myself; I play for all the women who dare to dream limitlessly,” declares Masega.
She had previously played for Tartar Girls, a former heavyweight, and was a pivotal member of the squad that clinched the secondary schools’ national girls’ football title in 2012. This accomplishment was followed by a silver medal at the East Africa games hosted in Uganda.
“My teammates were the only ones aware of my pregnancy. I had shared it with them, and due to our fight to avoid relegation with me being a key player, we kept it confidential, even the coach was unaware. In fact, he was shocked when he learned I had given birth,” Masega recounts.
Beyond the football field, Monicah’s journey continues to captivate hearts and minds. She has become a beacon of inspiration for young girls and women across the region.
Her story has ignited dialogues surrounding empowerment, choice, and the boundless potential residing within each individual.
“When I’m not on the field, I sell bhajia, tomatoes, and onions at Kiminini Market Centre to earn a living,” she shares.
As the sun dips beneath the horizon, casting a golden embrace over the field, Masega’s tale remains etched in the hearts of those fortunate enough to witness her play.
Her unwavering football fervor, her defiance of societal norms, and her relentless pursuit of dreams while embracing the enchanting journey of motherhood serve as a poignant reminder that the human spirit knows no confines.
In the realm of Vihiga Leeds FC, Monicah’s legacy is one of resilience, courage, and an unwavering quest for aspirations.