Nalukenge’s discipline not in question: Lutalo

No Awcon. Nalukenge(C) could not make the final cut for the Crested Cranes team to Morocco. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

  • Top 20 NextGen women: In 2021, Goal named Nalukenge in its Top 10 young women footballers. The striker made the cut again this year in the Top 20 world’s most promising women footballers, at number 19.

Juliet Nalukenge will be the biggest absentee this morning when Crested Cranes coach George Lutalo announces the 26-man squad set to travel to Morocco.

The squad, which leaves later tonight, will first play friendly games then Lutalo will release a final list of 21 players - possibly on June 29 - for the tournament that starts on July 2. 

Nalukenge’s name has been doing rounds in the media already with some reports indicating the Cyprus-based striker had been dropped for indiscipline.

“It is quite unfortunate to hear such reports because Nalukenge is a national team player who is still part of our future plans,” Lutalo told Monitor without delving into why she was dropped from the squad.

“She (Nalukenge) has a reputation to protect and such uninformed comments damage her reputation. What could she have done? If you asked anyone in camp, the officials and colleagues, Juliet’s discipline has always been impeccable and never in question.” 

Down the pecking order

Nalukenge could have fallen behind both Fazila Ikwaput and Sandra Nabweteme, who both scored more goals at the preparatory Cecafa Women Championship, in pecking order as a central striker.

From training sessions, Lutalo also seems to like the energy and hold up play of Rines SS striker Joanita Ainembabazi while the ability of Fauzia Najjemba to score from wide positions also makes the squad already attack-heavy.

Besides that, Ainembabazi might also be ‘easier’ to drop with days to the tournament if Austria-based Viola Nambi and Sweden-based Ritah Kivumbi turn up for the camp in Morocco and convince the coach.

Meanwhile, defender Shadia Nankya is Lutalo’s “regrettable miss” after she failed to recover from a knee injury.

“She was part of our leadership group and someone whose command and personality we needed in Morocco. Unfortunately, she cannot recover in time despite all efforts of the medical team.”

Travelling Squad

Goalkeepers: Ruth Aturo, Vannesa Karungi, Daisy Nakaziro
Defenders: Margaret Namirimu, Aisha Nantongo, Asia Nakibuuka, Sumaya Komuntale, Lukia Namubiru, Yudaya Nakayenze
Midfielders: Phiona Nabbumba, Tracy Jones Akiror, Shamirah Nalugya, Joan Nabirye, Sheebah Zalwango, Hasifah Nassuna, Riticia Nabbosa
Forwards: Zaina Nandede, Elizabeth Nakigozi, Fazila Ikwaput, Lillian Mutuuzo, Sandra Nabweteme, Margaret Kunihira, Fauzia Najjemba

*Could be joined by Ritah Kivumbi and Viola Nambi

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