Nabbumba sets tone for Lutalo’s plan B

Crested Cranes player Phiona Nabbumba. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

  • Cog. Fufa Women Super league MVP Nabbumba’s  ability to win the ball and also help with the build up is one of her key attributes. 

“I have no doubts about the starting XI in Paris. My only doubt is about who will play a more important part, those who start or those who finish the game,” Carlo Ancelotti said when quizzed about how he would set up his Real Madrid side for the Champions League final that they eventually won against Liverpool.

Every coach has a weapon they turn to when things do not go according to plan.

And it seems Crested Cranes coach George Lutalo has picked She Corporate midfielder and Fufa Women Super League (FWSL) most valuable player Phiona Nabbumba as his game changer ahead of the July 2-23 Women Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) in Morocco.

Versatile Nabbumba

At the just concluded Cecafa Women Championship, which Uganda won at Fufa Technical Centre - Njeru, Nabbumba was regularly the first name off the bench.

Sometimes she came on as replacement for the lone defensive midfielder Joan Nabirye or to combine with Hasifah Nassuna in attacking midfield at the expense of Shamirah Nalugya. 
When training in midfield, Nabbumba is encouraged to shoot as often as she can.

However, in some of the training sessions and in one friendly match leading up to their departure to Morocco yesterday, Nabbumba was used in defence too for some time.

Her ability to win the ball and also help with the build up could have triggered Lutalo’s mind.
“She is showing us her versatility and giving us options we could exploit.

Sharp. The Crested Cranes have departed for Marrakesh, Morocco ahead of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations due next month. Right is Nabbumba. PHOTOS/ JOHN BATANUDDE

If a player shows us her capabilities in certain situations, we are more than ready to give them that chance if the need arises,” Lutalo said while insisting that the first priority is to make his prime plan to work.

The favoured set-up

Without an emphasis on personalities, Lutalo showed at Cecafa that he still prioritizes a secure back four with the fullbacks picking just a few moments to venture forward.

His midfield had one pivot with the other two central midfielders tasked to create.

His wide forwards switched positions freely while he seems to favour a mobile centre forward that can come to play deep and also get on the end of things in the box.

It is probably Juliet Nalukenge’s little efficiency when she drops deep that cost her place in the final squad.

Nabbumba at a glance 

Name: Phiona Nabbumba
Date of birth: July 20, 2000
Parents: Margaret and George Kigozi
Position: Midfielder
2014/15: London College, Nansana
2015/16 and 2016/17: Rines SS
2017/18 and 2018/19: Ajax Queens
2019/20 – to date: She Corporate


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