Crested Cranes itch for the perfect game

Waiting In The Ranks. Coach Lutalo could summon Tracy Jones Akiror who has featured for her clubs and national team in the right-back position today. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

  • Uganda lost their two opening fixtures against Senegal and the hosts and sit behind the equally point-less Burkina on a -4 goal difference.

Crested Cranes travel over 87km southwards from Rabat to Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca for their final Group A fixture against Burkina Faso tonight at the Women Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

Uganda lost their two opening fixtures against Senegal and the hosts and sit behind the equally point-less Burkina on a -4 goal difference.

 “We must improve to beat Burkina,” Lutalo said as he admitted his players were being tested at this level more than they had anticipated.
Burkina Faso have lost both of their games 1-0; a controversially retaken freekick against Morocco and a late penalty against Senegal. Defensively, coach Pascal Sawadogo’s debuting Stallions take hard work to breakdown and the talent of 19 year old goalkeeper Mariam Outtara cannot be underestimated.

Need goals
Uganda therefore have their work cut out. The goals are needed in plenty of Uganda is to force its way into the two best third-placed finishers across all three groups and therefore qualify for the quarterfinals. That too will be a waiting game where Uganda has to depend on results elsewhere going their way. Coach George Lutalo’s striking force has hardly turned up and Crested Cranes are a shadow of the unit that scored 20 goals in the lead to the tournament. They have looked individualistic in play thereby having some like the hard running Fauzia Najjemba stand out but not stand tall.

Defend better
At the back, opponents have not even had to look better. Uganda has given away five goals due to defensive lapses and Lutalo will not have the benefit of familiarity among his backs yet.
Sumaya Komuntale, the only left-back Lutalo carried to Morocco, was sent off against Morocco and that is likely to force a new name on the match sheet.

Right-back Asia Nakibuuka features on the left for her club Kawempe Muslim and could be moved there.
That would then force either Aisha Nantongo or Yudaya Nakayenze, who missed the last game due to illness, to deputize on the right.
Alternatively, Lutalo could turn to Tracy Jones Akiror who has featured for her clubs in this position before.

WOMEN AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
GROUP A - 11pm
Morocco              vs.  Senegal, Rabat
Burkina Faso     vs.  Uganda, Casablanca 


CRESTED CRANeS XI
PROBABLE XI: Ruth Aturo (C); Aisha Nantongo, Margaret Namirimu, Phiona Nabbumba, Asia Nakibuuka; Joan Nabirye, Shamirah Nalugya, Sandra Nabweteme; Fauzia Najjemba, Fazila Ikwaput, Ritah Kivumbi 

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