An unexplained decision by Caf to re-draw the third round fixtures in the 2022 Fifa U-20 Women World Cup qualifiers saw Uganda pitted against Botswana.
The first leg of the tie in Botswana will take place between December 2 and 4 before the sides re-engage a fortnight later in Kampala between December 16 and 18.
From the draft fixture that was upheld for the first two rounds, Uganda – who beat Kenya 10-3 on aggregate in the second round – had South Africa lying in wait in the next round with only a confirmation of dates pending.
But coach Ayub Khalifa had quickly predicted a “tough match” he would have loved to avoid as he had beaten almost half of the South African squad 2-1 in the Cosafa U-17 Women Championships finals in Mauritius in 2019.
“Of course, because both teams (Uganda and South Africa) are using players that were in Mauritius, they will come to earn revenge,” Khalifa said.
“That makes it a tough match so I would prefer a team we have never played against until the girls step up a bit more.”
Khalifa does not have wish entirely but in Botswana, they meet a side they beat 12-0 in the semifinals in Mauritius then.
The current fixtures also show that Uganda’s tie is in the half of the draw that includes Guinea, Gabon, Zambia, Congo, Burkina Faso and Gambia.
Meaning that if it is sustained, Khalifa’s U-20s can avoid perennial qualifiers Ghana and Nigeria - who are in the same half of the draw - and have a good shot at making it to the final tournament in Costa Rica where Africa will have just two representatives.
But that should be no cause for jubilation as Caf has already showed they can always redraw the lots.
U-20 WC qualifiiers-Africa
Third Round FIXTURES
Tanzania vs. Ethiopia
South Africa vs. Ghana
Morocco vs. Senegal
Cameroon vs. Nigeria
Botswana vs. Uganda
Zambia vs. Congo
Burkina Faso vs. Gambia
Guinea vs. Gabon