Waking the leader inside of you...

Azra Numanović, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, has participated in UEFA's Women in Football Leadership programme. She tells us about her devotion to women's football, and her hopes of using the skills she is acquiring in football leadership roles.

Azra Numanović - "Women's football has a great future"
Azra Numanović - "Women's football has a great future" ©Peter van Dijk

Azra Numanović is devoting her career to women’s football. At 27, she has already collected experience as a player for the Bosnia and Herzegovina women’s national team, and has refereed at domestic level. In addition, she holds a UEFA C coaching licence.

Azra has worked within the administration of her club, SFK 2000 Sarajevo, for several years now, and has taken on the role of general secretary with responsibility for a variety of projects and initiatives. She has participated in the UEFA Women in Football Leadership programme, and attended a FIFA/UEFA development event in Amsterdam as part of her career learning curve. Over the coming years, Azra is keen to use the skills she is acquiring in leadership roles in football.

The UEFA Women in Football Leadership Programme seems to have brought terrific personal benefits for you …

©Peter van Dijk

Women’s football needs women as leaders, and this programme is showing you the right way to wake up the leader inside of you. The programme fulfilled its purpose – after the event, I returned home fully motivated. 

What do you think were the key drivers to help you develop as an individual?

Passion, positive energy and persistence are part of my personality, and this helped me to keep going with my goal. I strongly believe in love, freedom and happiness. Of course, these words have a wide meaning, but when you apply them to football, it means that every girl has the right to enjoy this game. 

It’s clear that you have the confidence to make a success of your career.

Women have the talent and capability to make decisions. Nothing motivates me more than this. You need to be ready as an individual, you need to recognise your strengths and weaknesses. And when you do, use them for a good purpose. The leadership programme helped me to build up my self-confidence.

How has your mentorship gone? How has it influenced your decision-making?

The mentorship is a big part of the whole programme. I’m really happy to have a great mentor, a woman with great experience, great personality and a true leader. Having the opportunity to talk and exchange experiences and thoughts with her is a big opportunity. I can hear first-hand how it is to be a true role model, and that shows me how to build my own path.

Turning to the FIFA/UEFA women in leadership development event, how did you find mixing with the two groups of participants, and what were your key learnings?

Inviting participants from both courses to one event combined two groups into one great team of women. Diversity of thought, opinion and voice is the only way to find the right path for development and success.

You were able to talk with people from around the world

We had the chance to exchange experiences with participants from Australia to Canada, from Grenada to Sweden, and from Ghana to Bosnia and Herzegovina. I’ve learned that all of us have the same challenges and problems, but also the very same passion and love.

What did you enjoy most about the event?

Delving inside yourself, analysing the behaviour of people around you and sharing that cognition with others was the true strength of this event. Self-awareness and self-confidence are something that you need in the first place to be able to put your inner knowledge and ideas into action.

Could you have ever imagined, all those years ago, that women’s football would have made such strides?

Fourteen years ago, all of this was just a dream. How would it be possible to push women’s football forward, especially in a small country like Bosnia and Herzegovina? Now I see that it is possible. Women’s football has a great future and great potential.

This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct No171