Skip to main content

Shadia Nankya: Meet Crested Cranes towering and intelligent defender

Shadia Nankya’s profile 

Full Names: Shadia Nankya

Date of Birth: 25/11/2000

Parents: Kasimu Kizito and Rehema Nampijja

Position: Defender but occassionaly deployed in attack (has  8 goals in the FUFA Women Elite League,  Leading scorer with 7 goals in the FUFA Women’s  Cup this season).

Nominee Airtel FUFA Women player of the year 2018

Winner-Two COSAFA Player of the match awards during the 2018 tournament in South Africa. 


Shadia Nankya is Uganda Martyrs High School Rubaga and Crested Cranes central defender, who only started playing soccer five years ago.

As a young girl in S.2 at Uganda Martyrs Lubaga in 2014, Nankya did not know exactly what she was doing, but only started getting excited to join boys to play the ball, but not on a serious note.

What started as a joke and a leisure activity for Nankya, has now paved way to stardom in women football, something she had never dreamt about.

Born 18 years ago to Kasimu Kizito and Rehema Nampijja of Kasangati in Wakiso district, Nankya is the last born in the family of five (one boy and four girls).

She is currently on the Crested Cranes team trying to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games starting with a two-legged qualifier against Ethiopia.

Shadia Nankya is one of the finest female defenders in Ugandan football.

When did you start playing football? It is not far, I started playing the ball in 2014 when I was in S.2.

How did you get interested?:  I had no interest in playing, because I didn’t even know there were girls that played football. Only, I would join boys both at home and at school, to play for leisure.

What was your parents’ reaction towards this? My mother did not like it at all; she used to discourage me. She never wanted me to play football, but I persisted outside her knowledge.

Crested Cranes Defender Nankya Shadia(Red) takes on Kawempe Muslim Player during a build up match in march 2018
Crested Cranes defender Nankya Shadia (Red) takes on a player from Kampala Select team  player Halima Katusabe at Kabojja IUIU Campus during a build up match for the National Team in March 2018

Did she react after finding out you kept playing secretly? The good thing my school (Uganda Martyrs High School Rubaga) took me on a study bursary because I had the basics of the game. So when she learnt I had secured a bursary, she started feeling fine with my career. She is among the happiest people now.

Who has inspired you to keep on playing football? My siblings especially-my brother Shafiq Mubiru has been behind me and supports me so much. My coaches too have encouraged me both at club and National team.

What has been your lowest moment in football? Not really, but my first experience in the Elite Women’s League was a teaser. We were playing against relegation.

What is your highest moment in football? We have consecutively won the Lammenies’ football tournament, but again, having been summoned to play for the national team and of all, my double Player-of-The-Match accolade during the 2018 COSAFA event in S. Africa remains the greatest memory.

Nakya Shadia recieves the Player of the Match accolade from Timothy Shongwe-Chairman Competitions COSAFA.

How did you feel when you were called up to the National team? To be honest, my first time I felt scared but I only shared the scare with myself, I did not want to tell anyone. Because I was imagining how I would carry the whole nation on my shoulders, everyone was to see me, but I kept strong and we had a good game against Kenya in Machakos though we lost (1-0) and later held them to a 0-0 here in Kampala.

You one time played as a striker and scored many goals in a single game: Yes, after realizing my potential as a footballer, I have tried out several positions because I have kept having a growing ambition and determination. I can play anywhere but I love the central defence.

Check the height. Who can jump higher than me? Shadia Nankya goes for the ball in the air.

Talk about the CECAFA and COSAFA experience: It was all team work and determination that we performed the way we did in both tournaments. We were just unlucky that we lost the CECAFA title to Tanzania just on goal difference. We were underdogs but we surprised and challenged our critics.

For COSAFA still, we were guests and the smallest team in the event on record, but we still rose up to the occasion and were counted among the best teams. Finishing third and beating good teams like Zimbabwe and Zambia was encouraging.

Shadia Nankya (3rd L) taking on a Zambian player during the 2018 COSAFA Tournament in South Africa. She always keeps it tight in the backline for club and country.

You were voted MVP twice in the 2018 COSAFA: Yes, but the team work and the hard work led me to the accolades. I won’t take them as an individual achievement but for the whole team because we worked hard together.

What are your future plans? Playing for the national team for a long time is my major target because I want to keep representing my country. But I want also to focus on becoming a professional player.

Shadia Nankya celebrating with Yudaya Nakayenze while on National team duty after scoring against Tanzania in the 2018 CECAFA Women championship

Any attributes? Yes, I want to thank FUFA for having enabled girls to play football, opening up our career doors in the sport. They have involved us in every international event now. The AWCON qualifiers, the CECAFA and COSAFA outings last year then the Olympic qualifiers that we are involved in. This international involvement is going to improve our game, expose us to the world and keep us in love with the game and also encourage women football development in the country.

I also thank our parents for having enabled and allowed us to play soccer. The coaches, fans,  teammates and everyone.

Shadia Nankya (3rd L) leaves her opponents fully beaten as she drives the ball away when Crested Cranes faced Kampala Regional side at Lugogo.

Who do you admire as a player? Locally I admire myself but for a male player I admire Hassan Waswa (Cranes central defender) because of what he does and how he makes everything appear easy. He was not originally a central defender but brought into the position which he has perfected well.

Internationally, I admire the S. African senior defender Janine Van Wyk because of her determination and hard work.


Any message to the young girl-footballers? Let them work hard and be focused. They should keep good discipline and respect their coaches and parents as well as committing their lives to prayer. They will realize their goals.

MAIN PHOTO: Crested Cranes star player ShadiaNankya

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop