Tanzania came from two goals down to beat Uganda 2-1 in the first leg of the first round of Africa’s Fifa Women U-20 World Cup Qualifiers in Dar-es-Salaam on Sunday.
Coach Oliver Mbekeka, having been on the technical benches of the U-17 and Crested Cranes teams, went for the tried and tested.
Under-17 centre-back Stella Musibika got a run at right back while her Kawempe Muslim teammate Asia Nakibuuka played as left back like she did for Crested Cranes at the Cecafa Senior Women’s Challenge Cup in November last year. Aisha Namukisa and Shadia Nankya renewed their Crested Cranes central-defence partnership in front of goalkeeper Juliet Adeke.
Phiona Nabbumba also a Crested Cranes regular partnered with Teddy Najjuma, who later made way for Shakira Mutiibwa, in midfield. Fauzia Najjemba played just behind Juliet Nalukenge as she is wont to do with the U-17s while Margaret Kunihira and Lillian Mutuuzo took care of the wings. Juliet Nalukenge continued with her scoring spree, after an uneventful first half for both side, getting the match opener in the 48th minute.
But Diana Msewa pulled the hosts level about 10 minutes later and Clement Opa sealed it in the 70th minute.
Away goal advantage
Uganda, however, did well to get an away goal and preventing Tanzania from adding to their advantage.
“We are hopeful because we have that away goal but they also beat us through set-pieces so it is clear for us to see what to work on the coming days,” coach Oliver Mbekeka, said. A 1-0 win at home could see Uganda through to the next round where they play Senegal or Sierra Leone.
But before that, the six players that are also part of the U-17s have to travel to Addis Ababa within the week for the second leg of that World Cup first round qualifier in which they lead Ethiopia 2-0.
Only two African countries will qualify for the August U-20 World Cup due in Panama and Costa Rica which Fufa believes is important as it gives players added experience that could immediately impact on the national team.
Also the U-17 team, if Uganda qualify, could be affected by the schools’ examinations schedules as it is due in November in India.