The first kick of the ball: Ugandan refugee who overcame depression

Zamu Nabwami

Age: 27

In 2015, Zamu Nabwami had never kicked a football before in her life. Little did she know that just one year later she would be representing Wales in the 2016 Homeless World Cup in Glasgow.

After experiencing troubles in Uganda, Zamu left the only home she had ever known and arrived in the UK. After initially living in hostel accommodation in London, she was moved to Newport.

Zamu wanted to find a way to make friends in a new country and address her depression and loneliness. She saw an advert for Street Football Wales and, despite never playing football before, decided that she had nothing to lose, and so went along to a training session.

Within moments of arriving Zamu said that she felt part of a family.

Zamu threw herself into life at Street Football Wales and trained hard. Her efforts were rewarded when she was picked to play for Wales in the 2016 women’s squad. The Welsh teams were heading to Glasgow for the Homeless World Cup.

Zamu quickly realised that the tournament wasn’t about winning, but feeling part of a team. After struggling for years with loneliness and mental health issues she finally felt like she belonged.

Now living in her own flat in Newport, Zamu set up Street Football Wales’ first participant led asylum seeker squad and has actively recruited new members. She’s secured a place to study a degree in nursing and has ambitions to become a paramedic.