What you need to know:
This Fufa said was to allow Khalifa “concentrate on the U-20 team going to camp” to prepare for the October 6-15 first round qualifiers of the 2024 Fifa U-20 Women World Cup.
It is over four months since Fufa advertised the national women’s senior football team Crested Cranes’ coaching job.
While there have been applicants from both within and outside the country, the federation continues to be shilly-shally with making the decision.
Instead Ayub Khalifa, who was appointed as the U-20 national team coach, was tasked to lead the senior team in the Olympic Qualifiers first round tie against Rwanda.
After passing that task, he was asked to lead the team for the September 20 and 26 first round of the Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) Qualifiers against Algeria.
Preparations were going on well until on Friday night when Fufa, through their website, announced that former Cranes interim head coach Abdallah Mubiru was taking over from Khalifa in the same provisional capacity with under a week to the first leg against Algeria at Fufa Technical Centre (FTC), Njeru.
This Fufa said was to allow Khalifa “concentrate on the U-20 team going to camp” to prepare for the October 6-15 first round qualifiers of the 2024 Fifa U-20 Women World Cup. Meanwhile, when Fufa advertised the vacancies for its national teams, the U-20 coach was ‘promised’ to be the assistant of the senior women’s head coach.
Early on Saturday, Fufa announced that Khalifa had duly summoned a 35-man squad to enter camp on September 18 at Fufa Technical Centre, Njeru – where the senior team is also based. Later in the night, they announced Mubiru had “since communicated that he developed personal reasons not to take” the Crested Cranes assignment.
Form for 'bad' appointments
Daily Monitor has learned through sources that Mubiru made the said ‘about-turn’ after consultations with his family. While some analysts claim such a highly regarded coach should, in the first place, not have accepted to be an “assistant to a ghost” in reference to the delayed appointment of a head coach let alone taking on such an assignment with no prior experience of working with female footballers.
Also, Fufa’s appointing authority – in this case the president Moses Magogo – has to look deeply at his latest appointments coming from the men’s game to the women’s. At his own club, Kampala Queens, he dismissed Hamza Lutalo – despite winning the league in April – reportedly for losing the dressing room and failing to create squad harmony.
Lutalo’s replacement Charles ‘Kadidi’ Ssenyange came in in late June – albeit belatedly – and miserably failed to take the arrays of talent at his disposal to the Caf Women’s Champions League.
Recently, for Crested Cranes, George Lutalo did not even spend a year in his role and was dismissed after last year’s poor show at the Awcon – all that despite winning the Cecafa Women Championship. This Lutalo worked with Edward Kaziba, who served as an assistant since 2017, and was dismissed with the ‘record’ of being the longest-serving technical appointment to have come in the women’s game from the men’s.
Back to Saturday night’s announcement; it also said that Khalifa and Olive Mbekeka, who had been appointed as a second assistant working with Mubiru, would continue taking care of “training sessions” – perhaps a suggestion that another caretaker could yet be appointed.
Double the work
If Khalifa has to continue with the Crested Cranes, then it means he has to double his work per day to also work with the U-20, where he has no assistant by the way. If he cannot, then it means he has to wait until Crested Cranes return from Algeria probably on September 27 to start preparing his U-20s for Mozambique.
Four of the players summoned for the U-20 camp are also part of the Crested Cranes one but the surprise is that Phiona Nabulime and Hadijah Nandago have been called to face Mozambique yet they were excused from the Algeria assignment to allow them concentrate on finishing their Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE exams).
Positively, having these two squads in one place gives the coach an opportunity to have quality preparation games.
2024 Africa Women Cup of Nations
Qualifiers – Wednesday at FTC, Njeru
Uganda vs. Algeria, 4pm
Squad for U-20 World Cup Qualifiers vs. Mozambique
Daphine Nyayenga (She Corporate), Sharon Norah Kaidu (UMHS Lubaga), Cecilia Kamuli (Tooro Queens), Angella Adeke (Royal Queens), Lillian Nakilya (St. Noa)
Patricia Nakato Nanyanzi (Rines SS), Sharifah Nakimera (Kawempe Muslim), Patience Nabulobi (Kampala Queens), Charity Katusiime (Taggy HS), Rebecca Nandhengo (UMHS), Desire Katisi Natooro (Asubo), Harima Kanyago (UCU Lady Cardinals), Faridah Namirimu (Wakiso Hill), Hasifah Namboozo (Royal Queens), Esther Namusoke (Kampala Queens)
Patricia Nayiga (Wakiso Hill), Kurusum Namutebi, Phionah Nabulime, Agnes Nabukenya, Halimah Kampi, Dorcus Kisakye (Kawempe Muslim), Immaculate Odaru, Eva Nagayi (Rines), Kevin Nakacwa (UMHS), Hadijah Nandago, Shakirah Nyinagahirwa (Kampala Queen)
Allen Nassaazi (Kawempe Muslim), Shamusa Najjuma, Brenda Munyana (UMHS), Kamiyati Naigaga (Asubo), Sophia Nakiyingi, Catherine Nagadya, Margaret Kunihira (Kampala Queens), Sharon Kanyiginya, Ruth Nyakato (Tooro Queens)