As International Women’s Day is recognised around the world on 8 March, FIFA.com is publishing exclusive interviews with the four candidates vying to become the first woman to be elected onto FIFA’s Executive Committee. The inaugural election for a female representative is due to take place at the FIFA Congress in Mauritius this May.
Here we speak with Lydia Nsekera of Burundi who has served as interim post-holder since being co-opted onto the Executive Committee in 2012.
FIFA.com: Can you introduce yourself? Lydia Nsekera: I was born in Burundi on 20 April 1967. I’m a widow and mother of two sons aged 13 and 15. I’ve been President of the Burundi FA since 2004 and co-opted onto the FIFA Executive Committee in 2012. I’m a member of the Committee for Women’s Football and the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, the Organising Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments and the International Olympic Committee.
What importance do you attach to being nominated by your confederation?
Being nominated by my confederation showed me that there is solidarity between the CAF President and FIFA Vice-President, who is a member of the FIFA Executive Committee which co-opted me in 2012. Those who elected me supported the President’s decision.
How did you react to the FIFA President’s proposal in 2011 to have a woman on the Executive Committee?
I was delighted. I said to myself that this would be good for the development of women’s football and the decision would encourage women to work harder and to fill senior positions in member associations.
If you were elected, how would you see your role?
At Executive Committee level, as someone who is a woman and a mother bringing up her children, I would suggest some ideas for developing women’s football – particularly at grassroots level. Outside of the Executive Committee, I would try to convince the presidents of the member associations to develop women’s football and to give women decision-making powers and support.
What is your vision for women’s football?
Women’s football must develop in the same way as the men’s game and in all areas such as refereeing, training, administration, governance, players’ status and marketing. At the same time, any flaws like cheating must be avoided in the women’s game.
We’d like to ask you some personal questions based on the ‘Proust Questionnaire’ so that we can find out more about you. What is your favourite motto?
Who is your favourite heroine of all time?
And in football?
Which match will you always remember?
The CECAFA U-17 final between Burundi and Uganda on 26 August 2007 in Burundi. Burundi won the regional cup and the Burundi people were overjoyed. On that day, the Burundians forgot the ten years of civil war, which had started in October 1993.
CECAFA: The Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations, a regional association affiliated to the Confederation of African Football.
What is your favourite word?
The word that you hate the most?
This interview will be published to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March. Is this day important to you?
Yes, it’s is very important to me. On 8 March every year, men and women should remember that in our communities, women have rights and obligations at a social, economic and political level.