Lydia Nsekera was the first woman ever to head the Burundi National Football Association. No mean achievement in male chauvinistic Africa. And much as men have tried to bring her down, true to form, Lydia has not bowed to pressure. Accolades keep pouring in, and awards grace her house as her name has been recognized internationally.

Last week Lydia was appointed to FIFA: first woman ever, again recognition of her no-nonsense style, dedication and putting country first.

I have looked Lydia in the face, up close and personal: she pays attention to detail,does not bow to neither pressure no ridicule for conquering a traditionally man’s sport, and she cannot be bought. Soccer has experienced many a scandal of late.

Comparing Lydia to Margaret Thatcher, both of un-bending demeanor is only accurate to a point. Both women put service to country first. That is about it. Unlike Thatcher, this elegant woman of royal blood is soft spoken, but sure of herself. Polite, yet firm in her decisions.

But the beauty of it all, all these achievements have not gone to her head. Her feet are still firm on the ground. And knowing her as well as I do, she is only looking forward to making her country proud as a member of FIFA. Africa is proud of her. She has kept her eyes on the prize.

Stephane and Geoffrey, Lydia’s two prized sons are beaming with pride. They too deserve recognition because it is they that have kept Lydia focused and down to earth.

In the suburbs of San Francisco in the the City of Castro Valley, a mother’s heart is heavy-laden with pride and a sense of accomplishment. Lydia’s mother, Monique, is walking on air, and that is a mother’s right to bask in so great an accomplishment.

Well done, Lydia. Make Africa proud and enjoy those drums of victory sounding so loud in Bujumbura, and beyond. 




  1. Jean-Marie Ngendahayo

    So lovely and so true commnents about Lydia who makes proud all her folks so much stonger than they ever let it appear!

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