Twenty-three-year-old Kevin Opia shares a passion for football with her twin brother Robert.

“He’s my biggest role model in this game. I look up to him,” she says.

She used to tag along with him and his mates whenever they would go to the local park for a kickabout.

“I’d always just kind of watch them, and sometimes even join them if they’d let me.”

A young woman holding flwoers standing next to her mum and brother.

Opia with her mum and brother.(Supplied)

A primary school teacher helped Opia gain the confidence to step out of her brother’s shadow and join a team.

“She basically trained me to be the best version I can be within the sport.

“I started to see that people saw potential in me.

“That made me really excited and really accepted.”

A young African soccer player dribbles the ball past an opponent.

From watching her brother at the park to becoming a skillful player herself.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

Opia was encouraged to focus more on her education rather than playing sports.

“Whereas my brother, he kinda had that persistence to just keep pushing and go after his dreams.”

Football organiser Aminata Madua says it’s a common attitude among African families.

“The mum would be happy for her to stay home, watch the kids, while the boys go out and kick the football.

“It was just us supporting men, going down to watch our brothers, our uncles playing,” she says.


Ami Madua says there’s plenty of talented players with African heritage who can become Matildas.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

Ms Madua says she was inspired by the heroics of the Matildas at last year’s Women’s World Cup.

She also met up at African restaurants with friends and family to watch Nigeria’s impressive run.

“I’m fangirling over how good they were.

“Seeing these women play so good and just as great as the men — the hype was just as amazing.”

Three Nigeria teammates celebrate with Chiamaka Nnadozie after the Women's World Cup match against Canada.

Nigeria were hard to beat as they reached the Round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup in Australia. (AAP: Morgan Hancock)

For years, the annual African Cup NSW has brought the community together, with players representing their home country.

Ms Madua says it has been a struggle to gather enough players to field women’s sides, and when they did, they were often scheduled to play early in the morning.

“No-one else is gonna wake up to come watch and support, and it’s disheartening.

“This is why we’re here to break that barrier for the future generations.”

Two older football organisers with two players.

Kama Umoja’s organisers feel the African women’s teams aren’t getting enough spotlight.

She’s been appointed vice-president of Kama Umoja, a standalone soccer tournament for African women that kicks off in October.

“We’ve been doing this for so many years and our voices were in the background.

“It’s one of the first women’s cups in NSW for women of colour, solely based just for us.”

A team photo with players from different nations.

South Sudan, Congo, and Ghana are represented by local players.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

It’s hoped the tournament will create discussions in the community about the benefits of sport.

“Having those conversations is going to stem from the parents first.

“We’re able to speak to them in such a way that they understand that their daughters are just as great as the men.”

A girl leans against a wall with a soccer ball.

Opia wants to inspire other African girls to pursue their dreams in football.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

Opia will be representing her home nation South Sudan at Kama Umoja.

She played in the first women’s side at the African Cup and says there are now plenty more girls willing to sign up to play.

“I want the girls to be in their own zone, in their own empowerment, and just have a great time,” she says.

“We’re all just trying to come together as one and play that sport that we all love.”