Coach George Lutalo is likely to go with the centre-back pairing of Yudaya Nakayenze and Aisha Nantongo when Uganda starts its 2022 Women Africa Cup of Nations against Senegal in Rabat, Morocco on Sunday.
The pair had 90 minutes of competitive football against Zambia to work together but the bigger test came in the last 30. With Zambia sensing tired bodies as Uganda led 4-0, they threw on their speedster Barbara Banda, who plies her trade in China.
Nantongo is the lesser experienced and more error-prone but this was also supposed to be a stern test for Nakayenze, who is only returning to the national set up since April 2019.
Her Lindsey Wilson University team in USA does not even regularly use her as a centre-back but against Banda, Nakayenze showed why the country heavily relies on her to marshall up things.
Knowing she would be killed for pace if she got tight, Nakayenze would keep the Zambian in check by giving her a yard or less to decide what she wanted to do then smothering the ball cleanly before the action was executed.
Her spring and timing to win aerial balls was also on song on the day.
With goalkeeper Ruth Aturo offering the instructions from behind them, Nakayenze was left just to defend. Shouting instructions to her teammates has never been Nakayenze’s strength.
Nakayenze, 25, could yet meet better strikers but a fresh Banda was as a good test as she would have ever wished for to prepare for Wafcon.
AT A GLANCE
Full Name: Yudaya Nakayenze
UCU Lady Cardinals,
Seminole College (USA),
Lindsey Wilson College (USA)
Date of birth: June 26, 1997
Shirt number: 4
Major tournaments: Cecafa 2016, Cecafa 2018, Cosafa 2018, Awcon qualifiers 2018, Olympic qualifiers 2019, Awcon 2022