KAMPALA- Uganda were the first opponent Ethiopia’s senior women’s football side faced on the international scene. And the two sides’ U-17 teams will now face off on Saturday in round one of the Africa Fifa World Cup Qualifiers due in India in November. This is the first time both sides are taking part in this competition as they try to build the youth structures of their women’s football.
On September 22, 2002, the two sides met in Addis Ababa, in the Africa Women’s Nations Cup (AWCON) qualifiers.
Uganda, suffice to note, had been active since 1998 when they were ousted by Egypt in the AWCON qualifiers then. The then She Kobs also went to the 2000 AWCON in South Africa.
The inexperience notwithstanding, Ethiopia won the 2002 AWCON qualifiers first leg 2-0 while the second ended in a 2-2 draw at Namboole. That is a bit of history coach Ayub Khalifan’s side will be wary about when they host the Ethiopian girls that had little or nothing to be written about as Uganda won the Cosafa and Cecafa U-17 GIRLS Cups in Mauritius (September 2019) and Njeru (December 2019) respectively.
While Uganda went inactive after 2002, Ethiopia pushed harder playing all qualifiers till they qualified for AWCON 2012.
The sides met again at Fufa Technical Centre - Njeru during the revival of the Cecafa Women’s Championship in 2016. Ethiopia beat Uganda 4-1 but Uganda avenged the defeat twice; first in the 2018 version in Rwanda with a 2-1 win en route to winning silver at the tournament and last year in Tanzania where a 1-0 win helped Uganda to bronze.
In between those games, the sides met for another ground breaking assignment that the now experienced Ethiopia edged after a 3-2 home and 1-0 away win in round one of the Africa 2020 Olympic Qualifiers in April last year.
Uganda’s U-17 side includes Fauzia Najjemba and Juliet Nalukenge, who were part of that April’s Crested Cranes selection that was participating in the Olympic qualifiers for the first time.
They free-scoring duo will be keen to avenge for their fallen Olympic dreams with the hope of setting up a familiar contest with either Burundi or Tanzania in the second round due March.
WOMEN’S QUALIFIERS 2019
Round One: First Leg
Ethiopia 3-2 Uganda
Uganda 0-1 Ethiopia
PAST MEETINGS: UGANDA vs. ETHIOPIA
Cecafa 2018 – Rwanda
Uganda 2-1 Ethiopia
Cecafa 2016 – Uganda
Uganda 1-4 Ethiopia
2002 AWCON Qualifiers
Ethiopia 2-0 Uganda
Uganda 2-2 Ethiopia