Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sport Studies

Major Professor

Lars Dzikus

Committee Members

Leslee A. Fisher, Tricia Redeker Hepner, Chris Holmlund


Previous research has demonstrated that gender inequity exists in national level competitive sport in Uganda (Kateshumbwa, 2011). The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) established the women’s senior national football team, the Crested Cranes, in the early 1990s (FUFA, n.d.); however, only the men’s senior national football team, the Cranes, has been referenced in the literature (Chappell, 2008; Kasoma, 2013). The purpose of this study was to explore (a) how Ugandan women experience football (soccer) in terms of their social identities (e.g., gender, ethnicity, social class, nationality, geographic location); (b) how Ugandan women experience being a player on the senior women’s national football team; and (c) how colonialism and/or neocolonialism shape the experiences of the Ugandan women football players. A postcolonial feminist theoretical framework guided the study along with elements of feminist ethnography.

Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with Ugandan women who have competed on the official roster of the Ugandan Senior Women’s National Football Team (UGSWNFT) for at least one international competition. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. After transcription, participants engaged in an in-person member check by reading through and approving their transcripts (Creswell & Miller, 2000). In addition to the semi-structured interviews, other sources of data included participant and non-participant observation and reflexivity. Data was analyzed using a modified version of Hatch’s (2002) interpretive analysis procedure and a peer debriefer (Creswell & Miller, 2000). Themes from the data included historical changes in women’s football, socialization processes, mixed experiences with parental support, impact of football bursaries and traveling through football, societal (family, male peers, FUFA, and broader society) influences, experiences with abuse, hanging on and dropping out, motherhood, younger versus older players, envisioned potential of the Crested Cranes, and waiting for change from the top. Other results will be discussed that explicitly answer the three research questions previously listed. Results will be disseminated to the communities identified by participants (e.g., FUFA, Confederation of African Football, Federation of International Football Associations, UGSWNFT coaching staff), through this dissertation, and peer-reviewed journals.

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