CAREER INTEGRATED AMBITION: BEYOND GENDER BARRIERS…THE STORY OF BERTHA IMPONENE
The power of will-power and determination is engraved in the domain of mental focus. Bertha Imponene is good example whose feminine gender as a girl did not succumb to pressure of stigma and discrimination.
Imponene was born on 23rd July, 2003 in Chilanga District. She did her primary education at Linda Open Community School in Chilanga. Her primary experience was defined by her strong quest in participating in athletics. Her junior secondary was more oriented to netball at Mt. Makulu Secondary School.
She played as a center and goal shooter. Bertha’s transition to senior secondary school brought about a new sphere of career orientation. Her vocational career pathway had Musical arts. However, her sports performance compel the school to allow her go for Physical Education as her career pathway in grade ten.
The introduction of Progress sport Club which targets the youths in Linda and Mt. Makulu Communities boosted Bertha’s soccer fortunes. The parents showed resistance by discouraging the girl not to participate in sports. However, after lengthy talks, the parents conceded and Bertha embarked on a serious training program by featuring in the school team and club team as a soccer player.
The Progress Sport Club is an initiative that strives to promote grass root sports and integrating Physical Education into community real life by championing academic excellence and life skills education.
She first attended trials at Independence Stadium in Lusaka for Under 17 in May, 2019 for the national team. Unfortunately she didn’t make it into the final squad. Her persistence saw her being recalled for trials for U20 where Coach Charles Haalubono drafted her into the national team.
Bertha Imponene featured in the Zambia Women National Team U-20 as a defender on 18th January, 2020 against South Africa in the FIFA Costa Rica / Panama World Cup preliminary qualifier at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
Prior to the return fixture, Zambia hosted Malawi in an international friendly at Sunset Stadium in Lusaka where Bertha put up a splendid performance by making a crucial clearance from the goal line. Zambia played South Africa at Orlando Stadium in the return fixture where Bertha featured as a central defender on 1st February, 2020.
Bertha also featured in the 2019 Lusaka Schools Sports Association (LSSA) girls’ soccer team tutored by Coach Beauty Mwamba, the assistant coach for the Zambia National Women’s Senior Team. Bertha is a natural left-footer who may soon make a mark in the National Team defense on the left back position, and she can also play at the heart of defense.
Due to her dedication to sports and her outstanding performance, Bertha Imponene has been awarded Free Education for her final high school grade after an impressive display for the Young Copper Queens. Mr. Kenneth Muleya, the Head teacher at Mt. Makulu Secondary School declared free education to Bertha Imponene who is in her final year of secondary education upon her return from U 20 National duty as a way of encouraging more girls who are in sports to consider education as a tool to success and also to work hard.
Mr. Muleya has also directed that a party be held in honor of her achievement. Imponene was not the only player from Progress Sport Club who was awarded free education. Her team mates who are pupils at Mt. Makulu Secondary School were also beneficiaries from the gesture. Justina Zulu and Mary Siamukande who are doing grade 8 and 12 respectively, benefited from the Head teacher’s gesture.
Justina Zulu, an attacking winger was exempted from paying school fees from grade 8 to 12, while Mary Siamukande another attacking winger was exempted from paying her grade 12 school fees. Justina Zulu is being supported by Progress Sport Club through the provision of uniform and books.
Siamukande was part of the 2018 Zambia Schools Sports Association (ZSSA) athletics team which represented Zambia at Southern African regional level in Botswana. Agness Chishaka is another girl who is being supported by Progress Sport Club as she is in her tenth grade at the same school.
Progress Sport Club is a Chilanga based team which is making its debut appearance in 2019/20 Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) Lusaka Province Women’s League. The club promotes healthful living and life skills to curb teenage pregnancy, early marriages, alcohol and drug abuse; as well as enhancing academic excellence through netball and football.
Well-wishers are requested to join hands with Progress Sport Club in supporting Progress Sport Club in the areas of training materials and transport, as well as education support to the vulnerable learners.
The club has produced Chipo Lungu a netballer who is a Zambia Police Officer and Victor Phiri who is on 75% bursary scheme in his second year at Rockview University (BSc Education-ICT and Physical Education). Mt. Makulu Secondary School and Linda Community Secondary School are the main targets for Progress Sport Club. The Club is coached by Josphat Maimisa who is also a proprietor of the club and teacher of Physical Education and sport at Mt. Makulu Secondary School in Chilanga.
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