She is a renowned football player playing for women football’s national champions—the DD Sunshine. She is a mentor and a trainer who is committed to helping young women realise their potential, particularly in sports. She is also a civil engineer and currently works with the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure. This woman has shown rare proficiency in various sporting disciplines. Our correspondent Rachel Kachali spoke to her.
Who are you?
I am Oramah Massah. I was born on April 17 in 1992 at Malamulo Hospital in Blantyre. I come from a family of eight children— two boys and six girls. I am the seventh born. My mother is a nurse at Mchinji District Hospital while my father retired from Admarc. I am Roman Catholic. I am very passionate about sports in general particularly soccer, table tennis, volleyball and hockey, drawing and designing buildings. I love to make a difference by helping others become better people to contribute positively to the nation.
What sort of upbringing did you have?
I grew up in a family where parents knew their responsibility well. Their priority was to raise God- fearing, disciplined, educated and independent children. They supported me in every area of my life. They encouraged and equipped me with the necessary resources to get me to where I am now. My siblings played a great role as well by loving, caring and supporting me spiritually, financially and by setting good examples. Like I said earlier, there are eight of us, six of which have a minimum of master degrees; this influenced me to work extra hard in school for fear of being the only failure in the family.
Tell me about your education and work experience
I did my basic education in different schools. I obtained my Primary School Leaving Certificate (PLSC) at Kaphuta Full Primary School in Mzimba, my Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) in 2005 at Likuni Girls Secondary School in Lilongwe and Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) in 2008 at Ludzi Girls’ Secondary School. In 2009, I was selected to the University of Malawi—the Polytechnic to study Civil Engineering which I completed this year in May. I worked with Mota-Engil (ME) for two years as a student engineer under Western Bypass Project in Lilongwe. Currently, I am with Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure in Lilongwe.
How has been your progress in football?
When I was in Form Three at Mary Mount Secondary School, I got selected as a sports prefect. After I wrote my MSCE, I joined DD Sunshine Football Club. At the same time, I also joined Central Region Table Tennis Club. In 2008 and 2009 I was the national table tennis champion of the year respectively. In my second year at the Polytechnic, I got selected as a Poly Girls’ Soccer captain. In 2012, I received six gold medals in soccer, volleyball, table tennis, hockey and two from athletics (100m and 200m). In 2014, I obtained six more gold medals in the same fields and also received a golden boot award from the University of Malawi Student Union (UMSU) games. I was also awarded the best sports person in 2015 academic year and in early August this year, David Dube, who is DD sunshine FC owner made me the teams’ administrator.
Very few people excel in both sports and education at the same time. How did you do it?
It was not always easy! It’s about time management, determination, focus and passion. In Philippians 4:13, it is written I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I love this verse because God has equipped me with many gifts and talents and I sometimes feel I won’t be able to manage them all, but then I realise he gave me all of them for a reason. He wouldn’t give me anything without giving me proper resources and a proper manual on how to go about it. I knew if this was going to work, I needed to consult my manufacturer (God) to direct me, guide me and help me release my potential. I had to make a plan of how I wanted to live my life, when to do what and what to do when.
A lot of young women love soccer, but are afraid of taking football as a career.
How do you encourage such girls?
No one and nothing should stop anyone from pursuing their dreams. They should know we only live once and everyone is responsible for his or her own life, do what makes you happy and leave longer or die early with regrets. I want girls to understand that we might differ in strength with the males, but we might acquire the same soccer skills and play even better!
What inspires you?
The surest way to inspire me into action is telling me that I can’t do, be or have something! Some people thought I would not work hard in school because I was involved in soccer. I am also passionate about making a difference in the way we think and act to becoming better and obedient people to God. I have people like my siblings and friends who also inspire me. And I read a lot of inspiration books, listen and watch sermons and movies.
How do you intend to take charge of your team?
When I joined DD Sunshine in 2008, I found it in a better position—the leading champions, so I intend to maintain the status, raise the flag even higher by maintaining discipline among the players and the team as a whole. It’s not only about soccer and the skills that make one a star, but character helps people stay successful. With this reason I will encourage my team mates to take school seriously as most of them are still in secondary schools.
What makes you happy?
Helping people realise their purpose in life, achieve their goals and release their potential to the maximum.
What is your vision?
There are a lot of hidden talents in this country, but remain untouched because of poverty. My dream is to own an academy which will consist of talented children from different parts of the country to help them build, grow and expose their talents even to other countries. My dream as a civil engineer is to have a company where I can design and construct good quality infrastructure.
What have been your memorable moments?
The moment I was awarded the best sports personality this year. It happened on my birthday, so, it was like a birthday present.
Do you have free time?
I wouldn’t call it free because I am always doing something, but I like to read inspirational and academic books, draw houses and play soccer. I watch movies when I am tired of reading. I also like hanging out with my friends
Just some words of encouragement. Do what makes you happy and try as much as possible to live a righteous life. You will not regret it. And never settle for less. Always try to aim higher! n