Five issues to grapple with as U-17s court Cameroon

Getting Jiggy. U-17s Girls celebrate victory last year. They will aim to keep the momentum. PHOTO/John Batanudde

What you need to know:

  • Kevin Nakacwa’s absence in the 2-1 away loss to Tanzania in the first leg of the last round was felt.

The Uganda U-17 Girls could officially kick off their preparations for the first leg of their second round Fifa World Cup qualifier, with Cameroon due October 31 at Star Times Stadium – Lugogo, today. The side that is residing at Cranes Paradise Hotel – Kisaasi, will train in Lugogo as they try to make up for lost time.
 
Match fitness
Asked what the most pressing five issues are for his team that is regrouping after six months of inaction, coach Ayub Khalifan zeroed down to “just fitness.”
 His defensive lynchpin Stella Musibika and midfield anchor Kevin Nakacwa missed the last games – the 6-2 aggregate drubbing of Tanzania in the first round – through injuries that had initially threatened their continuation in this team but have had six months to recuperate thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
All players, however, have to prove their match sharpness even when practice games are off the charts.
 
Central defence
Should Musibika prove her fitness, Khalifan could be faced with a selection dilemma. 
He loves her confidence and passing range when they build from the back. 
Playing alongside the hardworking and feisty Bira Naddunga, the partnership won the Cosafa and Cecafa U-17 Championships last year and ousted Ethiopia in the penultimate round of these qualifiers.

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