One of the most amazing stories of the FIFA women’s world cup in Germany is that of the only African volunteer, Kulthoum Bakare is from Nigeria.
She attracted a lot of attention for her dedication not also because she was the only black volunteer, but also the only African at the Wolfsburg centre. She became quite popular as Nigerian Striker Obafemi Martins had been a star at Bundesliga club Wolfsburg.
SuperSport.com caught up with Bakare as she prepared to head back to Nigeria.
According to Bakare the hospitality of the Germans was unprecedented.
“Originally I had thought that it will take me a while to blend in but as soon as I walked through the doors of the volunteer office, I felt right at home. “
“Of course I was very obvious in my plain chocolate complexion in the sea of Caucasians but that was probably what made me stand out! Outside of the arena, places I have been and people I have met outside the circle of volunteers are extremely nice as well. Always ready to help and lend a hand with a smiling face. They wanted to know where I came from and about Africa in general. So I had a bit of a question and answer session every other day.”
In order for Bakare to go to Germany, she first had to be accepted into the volunteer programme.
“After the FIFA World Cup in South Africa last year, I applied for the volunteer programme of the Women’s World Cup because I figured that it will be an opportunity for me to build my capacity, enhance and share my knowledge with other professionals and gain experience that I can integrate in my practice as a sports physiotherapist in Nigeria. “
Kulthoum whose full name is Bakare Ummukulthoum is a female board certified physiotherapist practicing in Lagos, Nigeria.
She obtained her BSc Physiotherapy degree with honours at the prestigious College of Medicine, University of Ibadan in 2001 and also holds a Masters degree in Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy, obtained at the same University in 2007.
“The selection process was pretty competitive from what I gathered later on. From the onset, knowledge of basic German was a requirement according to the stipulated guidelines but I still applied anyways. “
“I figured communica-tion will be the most important thing and language may not necessarily be a barrier. Besides, the world cup is a global event and I was certain that English will come into play at some point. “
“All of the information sent to me was in German so I had to use google translate to help out. I was able to go through the preliminary screening process I guess and was invited for the final stage interview which I did via video call on Skype.”
“I was notified via email in German so I had to translate with my method using Google chrome! Ofcourse, I was elated to have been selected, especially knowing I could not speak any German! The prospects of being at the FIFA World Cup and visiting a country I had never been before was amazing.”