Grace Nyinawumuntu, a Rwandan female football coach is continuing to stand out as one of the women that are making a mark on football not only in the country but on the continent at large. She has represented the game almost in all aspects, having been a player, a referee, a coach and now an administrator at the Paris Saint Germain (PSG) Academy in Rwanda where she serves as the Technical Director. In an interview with Times Sport, she narrated the struggles that she passed through as a woman pursuing a career in football, especially due to the fact that society viewed the sport as one that is exclusively for men. “I have loved football since I was a young child, but I have always faced challenges because in the Rwandan society, it was seen as a game that was exclusive to men,” she said during an interview. Sometimes she was beaten at home and labeled “a rebellious child” when she went out to play football with her cousin brothers. However, she did not stop looking for opportunities to play. A key opportunity came her way in 2003, when as a teenager, she came to meet fellow girls and women who were playing for the Kigali City team. “I was in secondary school at that time. While walking in Nyamirambo, I met a group of women and girls being trained to play football. I asked their coach, who was a man, ‘What does it require for someone to join?” she recalls. The coach invited her to take part in the training session, and she impressed him so much that he not only welcomed her to the team but also put her name on the starting lineup for the match that they had to play the following day. She featured for the City of Kigali team as a central defender all through her secondary school years, and her impressive performances earned her a place in the national team. When time came to join university, she opted to study a sports course at the Kigali Institute of Education, instead of the Physics and Mathematics that she had studied in secondary school. This still stirred problems for her from her family members, who, among other things told her she would not get a job, but after seeking some advice from some people who knew more about sports, she was convinced that she had to pursue the course. She juggled the studies with her footballing career – which was not paying her, but she did it for passion. In 2004, she quit playing due to a knee injury she had sustained that could not allow her to carry on with contact sports. At this point she decided to try her hand at refereeing. She trained and became a referee from 2004 to 2007, and she proudly says she did it well. “I put a lot of effort into proving that a woman can do it,” she notes. Unfortunately, her knee injury worsened, forcing her to quit refereeing. In 2008, she ventured into coaching, and later on she came to be one of the key figures that established AS Kigali Women’s Football Club - the biggest female football club in Rwanda until now. She was the inaugural coach of the team and went on to handle it for many years, juggling it with coaching the national team on a temporary basis. In 2021, she was named the inaugural Technical Director of the PSG Academy in Rwanda, a job that is arguably the biggest in her career so far. PSG Academies are available in about 15 countries across the world, offering training to thousands of children in line with the PSG football methodology. Here, she hopes she can be part of the team that creates new exciting footballers for her country, and she hopes she can leave a mark that will last for many years in this regard. She also dreams to coach a men’s football club or national team one day.