Little known Amy Lasu Lauya who is best known on the pitch only as Amy, broke on to the football scene in South Sudan when she captained the country’s national women’s team at the East and Central African Football Association (CECAFA) tournament hosted in Tanzania late last year.
Born to Mr. Lasu Lauya Michael and Ms. Mary Benjamin Loki of Yei County in Central Equatoria, Amy who lived her entire childhood in the Kenyan capital Nairobi fell in love with football at the age of 7 in her Kenyan neighborhood of South B.
Amy Lasu’s football career dates back to her late father’s love for the sport as he was also a well-known football player in Juba playing for Malakia Football Club. She says she has a dream of playing for the Olympic Lyon ladies’ team in France.
Eye Radio’s Kelly Abale caught up with the South Sudan Women’ national team captain an exclusive interview.
Kelly Abale: Can you tell us about your football journey?
Amy Lasu: I started playing football at the age of 7 while in Kenya at a neighborhood called South B. I would play with the boys. At the age of 10, I joined Ligi Ndogo Academy in South B- RTI. I played with them for about 2 years, unfortunately, I had to leave because the school I was in had Saturday classes in the morning and at Ligi Ndogo Academy, the sessions were also in the morning so it became difficult for me to be at the same place at the same time. After things not going smoothly with Ligi Ndogo Academy, I joined Fisa Academy also in South B here, their sessions were in the afternoon and it favored me. I played there for a year then left again because I was taken to a boarding school and for the 4 years in boarding school, I was not playing competitive football because my school was not so active when it came to sports especially football. After high school, I joined Cheza Afrika Eagles, played for 2 years then I joined Cheza Sports later on for a year. While at Cheza Sports it reached a point where they decided to participate in the FKF Sub-County League and because I couldn’t play with the boys anymore, I had to look for a girls’ team. Then I joined Gaspo FC in 2015, a team that had been promoted to the Kenya Women’s Premier League. I played there for one season which was 2015-2016. Then I joined Makolanders FC which is also a team in the KEWPL. I played there for 3 seasons 2016-2019 before I got my first national team call-up for South Sudan to participate in the CECAFA Senior Women’ Challenge tournament that was held in Tanzania in 2019.
Kelly Abale: Tell us when were you born, where and who are your parents?
Amy Lasu: I was born in 1995 in Khartoum Sudan to Mr. Lasu Lauya Michael and Ms. Mary Benjamin Loki of the Kakwa tribe from Yei County in Central Equatoria. My father also played football and he played for Malakia FC in Juba.
Kelly Abale: How did your parents feel when they learned that you wanted to become a football player?
Amy Lasu: They were very supportive. My late dad never watched me play but he was very proud of me. My mum has always been supportive since I was a child until now. She was the one who took me to my first academy and I want to thank her for always standing by my side in my journey of football.
Kelly Abale: Let’s talk about South Sudan now, how did you feel when you had the news that you had been called up to the national team?
Amy Lasu: I was very excited. It was like a dream come true because as a child, I always dreamt of one day representing my country and when the opportunity came, I had to take it without thinking twice.
Kelly Abale: You were selected as the captain of the team, how did this motivate you?
Amy Lasu: It boosted my confidence because I felt that they believed in me to lead the team and also our country.
Kelly Abale: Football has come to a halt due to the COVID-19, how has the suspension of football activities in the country and the world affected you personally?
Amy Lasu: Well first of all it has affected my fitness because before all this, I had training sessions like 4/5 times in a week and also had certain plans that I was trying to work on but they’re all at a standstill.
Kelly Abale: Since you relocated to Juba, how have you found the football situation compared to that of Kenya?
Amy Lasu: We are still far behind compared to Kenya when it comes to football. I think Kenya has a more organized federation than ours. In Kenya, women’s football has been made a priority. It’s not all that perfect but at least they recognize women in the football industry. There are many academies in different parts of Kenya but here the academies are countable. In Kenya, they’ve also invested in building stadiums while here we have only one which is under construction.
Kelly Abale: What do you think the women’s representative at SSFA can do to help improve women’s football in South Sudan?
Amy Lasu: First of all they should start a league for ladies from the top level to the lowest level. Secondly, they should organize tournaments frequently. This will help to spot talent and it will be easier for the national team coaches to select players for national duties. Another thing they can do is organize school games because I’m sure we don’t have competitions in schools. These competitions should be organized in all parts of the country so that the coaches can have a variety to pick from. And also they should have all categories for the national team.
Kelly Abale: If you were to meet the president of SSFA, what would be your message to him regarding women football in South Sudan?
Amy Lasu: My message to him would be, he needs to bring a change in women’s football in the country. As we all know the gap between men and women when it comes to football in this country is very huge. I’d urge him to start focusing more on the girl child. As we speak there’s no ongoing league for women, no tournaments. I think if he makes this step it would be a good thing for women football. The gap is quite visible not only when it comes to players but also coaching, refereeing, and physiotherapy. To be honest I’ve never seen any female coach in this country neither have I seen a physiotherapist. He can organize courses for young ladies who are interested in pursuing maybe coaching or officiating because we can’t all be players. I think this will be a huge step for the girl child. This will help to motivate and encourage the ladies to achieve their dreams.
Kelly Abale: Where would you love to see yourself five years from now?
Amy Lasu: After playing for the national team, my next dream is playing in the Olympic Lyon ladies’ team.
Kelly Abale: What do you need to do to reach that dream?
Amy Lasu: Honestly it’s all about hard work and determination and believing in myself and also motivation, support, and encouragement from people around me. I always believe that when you believe in someone and encourage them, they can do the impossible.
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