End of the road

In to the Next. Captain of the day Najjemba and her teammates will return from Morocco following an abysmal showing at the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. Photo / John Batanude

What you need to know:

  • WAFCON. Crested Cranes return home having conceded seven goals following losses to Senegal and Morocco and a draw against Burkina Faso.  

Crested Cranes players took to social media to announce they had “picked their lessons” from their topsy-turvy return to the Women Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco after 22 years.

The campaign ended with a disappointing 2-2 draw with Burkina Faso on Friday that perfectly summed up their three match race at the competition that doubled as a World Cup qualifier for the continent.

Uganda has for long periods of their games matched all their three Group A opponents but the inexperience of the players is why they will return home early than most with two losses, one draw and having scored three goals and conceded seven.

After 22 years, Uganda have not even matched the performance of the team that went to South Africa in 2000. That team at least had four points in three matches, scored four goals and conceded six.

Not taking advantage

On Friday night, Margaret Kunihira opened the scoring with a deft touch after being picked out beautifully by Shamirah Nalugya in the 12th minute.

Moments after Fauzia Najjemba got Burkina defender Madinatou Rouamba sent for an early shower after the latter fouled the Ugandan captain of the day as she raced through on goal.

Najjemba took the armband from Ruth Aturo, who was ruled out through injury. Aisha Nantongo returned to the lineup in place of the suspended Sumaya Komuntale while Kunihira had started in place of the abysmal Ritah Kivumbi.

Despite the advantage in numbers, Uganda failed to capitalize and were left stunned when Adama Congo dribbled through the entire defence to equalize in the 35th minute.

Sandra Nabweteme then had a sublime finish to restore the lead in the 38th minute but kamikaze goalkeeping from Daisy Nakaziro allowed Naomie Adele Kabre to turn in player of the match Balkissa Sawadogo’s cross for a second equalizer before halftime.

Uninspired subs

Both teams played without urgency in the second half even though Uganda had replaced Fazila Ikwaput and Aisha Nantongo with Kivumbi and Lukia Namubiru respectively after halftime.

Uganda coach George Lutalo made it even more difficult for himself by taking off the creative links in Nalugya and Kunihira for Riticia Nabbosa and a lively but Lillian Mutuuzo in the 62nd and 56th minutes respectively.

Today, Nigeria continue their 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Botswana, a fixture they must win to brighten their chances of reaching the quarter-finals.

The Super Falcons began their title defence on a shaky note – losing 2-1 to Desiree Ellis’ side on Monday night in Rabat.

Randy Waldrum’s side – this time – know that anything short of victory could dent their aspirations of a 10th African crown as well as a place at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.

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