Lydia Nsekera was the Burundi Football Federation (FFB) President from 2004 until 2013. More so, she has been in the International Olympic Committee since 2009.
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Currently, she chairs the IOC Women in Sports Commission. Lydia Nsekera is also known as the first lady of Football. Lydia’s success in the world of sports attracted the world’s attention including Forbes. Forbes included on its list of 50 Africa’s most powerful women in March 2020.
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Lydia Nsekera Background
Lydia Nsekera was born on 20th April 1967 to one of the royal families of Burundi. She is the daughter of a former president of a local soccer club. Lydia was raised by her mother when her father got imprisoned.
In 1992, Nsekera holds a degree in Economics and Administrative Sciences from the University of Burundi. In 2003, she lost her husband to cancer which made her a single mother to two boys.
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Lydia Nsekera Career
About a decade ago, Nsekera was into car repairs. She was the company director, Garage Tanganyika Cars in 2002. And prior to that, she had worked as an Internal Auditor at Brasserie et Limonaderie du Burundi from 1994-2001.
In 2012, she became the first woman to be co-opted into the FIFA council for one year. Thereafter, in 2013, she was elected for a full four-year term. Lydia is the first woman to achieve this in the history of FIFA. This earned the name “The First Lady of Football”.
After her appointment, she swung into action immediately. Within a year, she set in motion a league system that has been placed on hold for three consecutive seasons.
Before then, she was Vice-President of Burundi’s Women’s Football Committee and helped launch the country’s first national women league.
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Sports Administration Of Lydia Nsekera Serves
- Member of the Atletico Olympic Football Club national men’s league (2000-2007)
- Women and Sport Commission (2001-2006)
- Leader of a women’s Football club (2001-2015)
- President of the Burundi Football Federation (2004-2013)
- Member of the Organising Committee of the 5th African women’s football championships, 2006
- A Member of the Organising Committee of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Olympic Football Tournaments (2006-2016)
- Member of the Women’s Football Commission of the African Football Confederation (CAF) (2006-2012)
- A member of the Executive Committee of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (2007-2011)
- Member of the Organising Committee of the FIFA World Cup, Chile, 2008
- A member of the Organising Committee of the Olympic football tournaments in Beijing, 2008
- Member (2011-2013), then President (2013-2016) of the Women’s World Cup Commission; co-opted (2012)
- Elected by the FIFA Congress as FIFA Executive Committee Member, 2013
- Vice President of the FIFA Development Committee, 2017
- Member of the FIFA Foundation Board
- A member of the Executive Committee of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) (2014-2018)
- Member of the Burundi NOC Executive Bureau (2006-2017)
- President of the Burundi NOC, 2017
- Member of the Burundi National Olympic Committee (NOC)
- Honour President (2007-2013) and Vice President (2014)
- The Women’s Football and Futsal Commission of the African Football Federation (CAF)
- Executive Committee of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations
Lydia Nsekera International Olympic Committee (IOC) History
- Member (2010-2014), then Chair (2014-2015) of the Women and Sport Commission
- Chair of the Women in Sport Commission, 2015
- Member of Radio and Television (2011-2014), Marketing (2014-2015), Coordination for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020 (2013), Communications (2015)
- Member of Evaluation for the Youth Olympic Games 2022 (2018), Coordination for the Games of XXXIV Olympiad Los Angeles 2028 (2019)
Awards And Recognitions
- One of the FIFA representatives at the medal presentations for women’s football at the Games of the Olympiad, Beijing 2008
- Nominated by the Bujumbura Mayor as one of the 10 best women workers of 2008
- Winner of the IOC Women and Sports Award, 2009
- Named to the Order of the Peoples Friendship of the Republic of Burundi, 2012
- Named by Presidential Decree to the Council of National Orders and Honours of the Republic of Burundi, 2018
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Lydia Nsekera Quotes
“The secret of my success is simple. I work, I work, and I work.”
“Feminine soccer has to develop in the same way as male soccer and in all domains: refereeing, training, administration, governance, status of the player and marketing, Simultaneously, it must be protected from drift,
“Till today, I never sign anything if there is no feminine sector in what they propose to me.”
“I work in the garage and I help children to do their home works. I also have a desk at home. Weekends are reserved for soccer and for the family. My two boys like soccer.”
“I have never played soccer, but I always lay inside. In 70’s, my father was owner of a small club. Every weekend, players came home and gather before match. Then I followed them to the stadium.”
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Business Lessons From the Life of Lydia Nsekera
1. Do the Impossible
Actually, who would have thought that a woman can someday hold a major seat on FIFA’s Executive Committee. This only confirms that nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m Possible”.
As an entrepreneur, no business idea or strategy is unachievable. Stand for what you believe in and be willing to fight for it even if it’s not popular.
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2. Keep Going In The Face of Challenges
One of the major trauma that can happen to a woman is to lose her husband. Some people lost their husband and it disrupted their entire career. Reverse is the case for Lydia Nsekera. She was able to pick up the pieces and move on to pursue her future.
Every setback is a setup for a comeback. Needless to say, Entrepreneurship is full of challenges, but your business success or failure is largely dependent on how you manage the challenges.
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3. Hard Work
Lydia revealed that the secret behind her success is hard work. Indeed, hard work pays. Over the years, she has reaped the reward of her hard work.
Interestingly, the principle of hard work is also important in any business. To succeed in business, you will need to put in extra time and effort than your competitors.
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