Kampala- Uganda’s 5-0 whitewash of Tanzania in Fifa women U-17 World Cup qualifier on Saturday has left the southern neighbours sore and crying foul, literally.
Tanzania coach Bakari Shime believes his team was undone in by the “maturity of Ugandan players from the 43rd minute” (when Uganda scored their first goal).
Uganda advanced to the final round of U-17 WC qualifiers 6-2 on aggregate.
“We were doing well at the start because we could match the energy of Uganda’s older players,” Shime moaned after the match in which they conceded from two free-kicks by Fauziah Najjemba in the 75th minute and in the 88th when Nalukenge converted from Grace Aluka’s delivery.
Aluka also scored a long range effort in the 79th minute.
“In the second half, the [age] maturity and physical levels of Uganda players took overwhelmed my younger girls,” added Shime, who defended the imposing physicality of his own players Rose Danford Mpoma and Anastazia Magoma, challenging anyone to adduce evidence they are over-age
What is the claims?
Only players born after January 2003 are eligible for the competition but it is not the first time Shime has cried foul against Uganda U-17 after defeat.
When Uganda drew 1-1 with Tanzania en route to winning Cecafa Women U-17 Championship in December, Shime and Djibouti coach Fatouma Moussa took exceptions.
They wondered how an U-17 player like Juliet Nalukenge had emerged as Fufa’s female player of 2019, gifted with a car and played key role for the national team at Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup a month earlier.
Most of the players in Ugandan leagues are teenagers and in secondary school. Some have also accumulated game time through grassroots projects like Airtel Rising Stars, Jean Sseninde Women Foundation Cup and Post-Primary Games.
On Saturday, Shime aimed his frustrations at particularly Nalukenge, whose official birth date is August 14, 2003.
“I was with Nalukenge at Cecafa in 2018 (in Rwanda) and she was registered as a 16-year-old. I also wonder why Uganda kept (Grace) Aluka and Shamirah (Nalugya) till this game they needed to win to progress. Shamirah was operating at a level that is way ahead of a 17 year old.”
Shime, however, remained coy on whether they would lodge a complaint although unconfirmed reports suggest Tanzania had petitioned match commissioner Chisom Adaobe Ezeoke.
Aluka (June 2, 2003) played in Uganda’s 2-1 defeat to Tanzania on March 1. Shime had no complaints as he won the game.
Fufa’s head of communications Ahmed Hussein told Daily Monitor that all the players fall within the age category. “We will wait until Caf notifies us of any petition to respond on the matter,” he said.