Crested Cranes have it all to do ahead of Cosafa

Wednesday September 15 2021
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Gameplan. Sandra Nabweteme in training. PHOTO/MAKHTUM MUZIRANSA

By Makhtum Muziransa

The 2018 Cosafa Women Championships endeared the Crested Cranes to Ugandans.  Uganda finished third then after Zambia 1-0 in the bronze medal match at the highly rated tournament in Port Elizabeth - South Africa.

However, concerns about the progress of the team returned almost a year later when they failed to challenge Kenya and hosts Tanzania at Cecafa 2019.

Player fitness
The national team has not had engagements since November 2019. And although there have been league matches played for just weeks; first in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic led to suspension of sports activities and then mid this year, interim coach George Lutalo’s first concern will be working on the fitness of players.

Nabweteme-Nassuna combo
Even before he gets players up to their races, Lutalo will have to do without Lady Doves striker Fazila Ikwaput, who recently at the Caf Women’s Champions League zonal qualifiers aggravated a knee injury she picked during the Fufa Women Super League (FWSL) in May.

He can, however, win love if he can reignite the Sandra Nabweteme and Hasifah Nassuna attacking combination that led Kawempe Muslim to two league titles in 2015 and 2016. 

The recalled Laki Otandeka (New Jersey Copa, USA) and new addition Shiraz Natasha (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, Israel) will also be tasked with improving options upfront.

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Nakaziro vs. Aturo
One department where Uganda has consistently performed well over the years is in the goalkeeping department where Ruth Aturo almost shows no weakness. But let us face it, Aturo has hardly played for two years.  Lutalo has a choice to make between form and nostalgia.

Porous midfield
Over the years, Uganda’s female midfielders have struggled to impose themselves thereby exposing the defence that now has US-based Yudaya Nakayenze. 

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