Botes summons 48 for U-20 camp, Khalifah sidelined

Botes issuing instructions in training. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

The selection to this six edition of the women’s competition promises to be so complex that Botes had to renegade on her word of trusting some U-17 players like Agnes Nabukenya and Shadia Nabirye by not summoning them.

Coach Shery Botes has just about two weeks to work with 48 players and determine the 18 that will represent Uganda in the women’s football category at the 13th edition of the March 8-24 All Africa Games in Ghana.

The selection to this six edition of the women’s competition promises to be so complex that Botes had to renegade on her word of trusting some U-17 players like Agnes Nabukenya and Shadia Nabirye by not summoning them. Even the Teen Cranes goalkeeper Lillian Nakiirya, who looks like a generational talent, has not been summoned to the U-20 squad and neither has Desire Katisi Natooro, who has been summoned to the senior national team before.

Almost all players that represented Uganda in the 2024 and 2022 Fifa U-20 Women World Cup qualification campaigns have been summoned. Shakirah Nyinagahirwa, missing through injury, and Brenda Munyana are the notable absentees after Caf decided that the teams and players that made the second-last round of the 2022 qualifiers take part in the Africa Games.

Botes has summoned seven keepers to the Queen Cranes squad but probably Denmark-based Daphine Nyayenga, who was in goal for the 2022 qualifiers, and Uganda Martyrs High School (UMHS) Lubaga’s Sharon Kaidu rank higher in pecking order.

Battle to get in

The first battle for places will be in defence. The 2022 defence of Asia Nakibuuka, Sumaya Komuntale, Samalie Nakacwa and Aisha Nantongo had been replaced entirely in the 2024 qualifiers by Sharifah Nakimera, Harima Kanyago, Patricia Nakato Nakyanzi, Patience Nabulobi and the dropped U-17 duo of Natooro and Faridah Namirimu.

Some like Patricia Akiror and Ritah Mushimere who were on the sides of the 2022 and 2024 squads have had their stocks grow in the current 2024 Fufa Women Super League (FWSL) season and could be hard to ignore.

In midfield Hadijah Nandago and Kevin Nakacwa played for both sides but their 2024 teammates Krusum Namutebi, Phiona Nabulime, Shamusa Najjuma, Eva Nagayi and Hadijah Babirye face competition from the 2022 teamers like Shamirah Nalugya and Zaitun Namaganda while someone like Sarah Babirye has grown by leaps and bounds for Asubo this season.

The attack promises even more dilemma. Juliet Nalukenge is back after missing national team football for over a year due to injuries.

She ran that 2022 attack with Fauzia Najjemba and Margaret Kunihira. The latter continued into the 2024 team where she runs things with Kamiyat Naigaga and Catherine Nagadya, who alongside Zainah Nandede were on the fringes of the 2022 squad.

All these bar Naigaga get into the senior team, Crested Cranes, squad but Lillian Kasuubo and Latifah Nakasi have been knocking on doors too. The latter missed two U-20 camps because of issues with her documents.

Khalifa out

Interestingly, Fufa have completely sidelined Ayub Khalifa who led these U-17 and U-20 sides from 2020 to last year in the current set-up. He was appointed U-20 coach last year with Botes named an overseer of the youth teams during her unveiling last November.

However, she has since been put in the thick of things with Charles Ayiekoh, from whom she took over at senior team level, as her assistant at all levels.

Full Provisional Squad

Goalkeepers: Daphine Nyayenga (Boldklubben AF 1893, Denmark), Sharon Kaidu (UMHS Lubaga), Esther Akujo (She Maroons), Olga Lukia Butiru (Asubo Ladies), Halimah Kasuubo (Wakiso Hill), Cecilia Kamuli (Tooro Queens), Nuru Babirye Nakyanzi (Royal Queens)

Defenders: Samalie Nakacwa, Sharifah Nakimera, Claire Hilda Kebirungi, Ritah Mushimire, Shakirah Nankwanga (Kawempe Muslim), Harima Kanyago (UCU Lady Cardinals), Catherine Wujja, Patricia Nanyanzi Nakato (Rines SS), Asia Nakibuuka, Sumaya Komuntale, Patricia Akiror, Winfred Kwatulira, Patience Nabulobi (Kampala Queens), Winnie Nakanwagi (Makerere University), Dorcus Lwalisa (Olila High School), Harriet Angorah (St. Noa), Aisha Nantongo (Aalborg BK, Denmark)

Midfielders: Krusum Namutebi, Phiona Nabulime, Hadijah Babirye (Kawempe), Shamirah Nalugya (Kampala Queens), Kevin Nakacwa, Shamusa Najjuma (UMHS), Patricia Nayiga, Zaitun Namaganda (Wakiso Hill), Sarah Babirye (Asubo), Eva Nagayi (Rines)

Forwards: Latifah Nakasi, Sharon Kanyiginya (UMHS), Margret Kunihira (Ceasiaa Queens, Tanzania), Sumaya Nalumu (St. Noa), Zainah Nandede, Catherine Nagadya, Sophia Nakiyingi, Lillian Kasuubo (Kampala Queens), Juliet Nalukenge (Apollon Ladies, Cyprus), Hadijah Nandago (Kawempe), Charity Nabiira (Jinja SS), Immaculate Kizza (She Maroons), Kamiyati Naigaga (Asubo), Fauzia Najjemba (Dynamo Moscow, Russia)


Sheryl Ulanda Botes – Head Coach

Charles Ayiekoh Lukula – Assistant Coach

Shawn Robert Bishop – Perfromance Analyst

David Ribeiro – Goalkeeping Coach

George Sebuliba – Goalkeeping Coach

Allan Nsubuga Magunda – Video Analyst

Danny Kirumira – Sports Scientist

Mable Kabatalindwa – Team Doctor

Darlian Kyasimire – Team Physiotherapist

Cissy Gaudensia Nakiguba – Equipment Manager

Joan Namusisi – Team Manager

Aminah Babirye – Media Officer