Crested Cranes beat Mukono High School 8-0 in a friendly last week then saw off Uganda Christian University (UCU) Lady Cardinals 3-0 yesterday but coach Faridah Bulega is still pushing her forwards to show more bite and hunger in front of goal.
The ladies’ national team has been camping at Njeru Technical Centre since November 5 in preparation for the fourth edition of the Cecafa Women Challenge Cup that starts tomorrow in Dar es Salaam – Tanzania. They leave today for the tournament, where they must negotiate Group A with Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.
Bulega’s national team has hugely relied on the trickery of the absent Lillian Mutuuzo and setpieces for goals over the last one year. But there is a thinking that with Kawempe Muslim coach Ayub Khalifan as her assistant, the team is going to try to manufacture goals from open play.
Afterall the team Khalifan spearheaded scored 46 goals in five games en route to winning the Cosafa U-17 Women’s Cup in Mauritius.
Hasifa Nassuna (UCU), Shamirah Nalugya, Juliet Nalukenge, Margret Kunihira (Kawempe), Rashidah Nankya (Uganda Martyrs), Resty Nanziri, Mable Kusasira, Zainah Namuleme (Kampala Queens), Fazila Ikwaput (Lady Doves) are among the forwards in camp while Asia Nakibuuka (Kawempe) and Fauzia Najjemba (Kampala Queens) are seen as goal-scoring threats from attacking midfield.
Bulega’s squad is therefore not necessarily short on scorers; some of her forwards like Nalugya and Ikwaput have started strong by getting on the scoresheets in the Fufa Women Super League while Kunihira, Nalukenge and Najjemba scored in tones in Mauritius last month. Bulega must just find the right combinations.
“Everything is going well for us but I am still not happy with the number of goals and how we are scoring them,” Bulega told Daily Monitor in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Bulega’s pressure on her forwards could be her reflecting deeply on what happened at this tournament last year in Rwanda.
After four matches in what was a round-robin tournament then, the youngest side at the tournament returned as commendable runners-up but the devil is in the detail.
Crested Cranes had finished the tourney level on seven points with Tanzania but with a negative (-1) goal difference. Tanzania on the other hand scored nine goals and conceded just four to win the trophy.