Uganda U20 ladies ready to finish job

Friday October 08 2021
soc03pix

Looking Sharp. Skipper Najjemba and her troops will be looking to seal the two-legged tie with another strong showing against Kenya at St Mary’s Kitende today. PHOTO /JOHN BATANUDDE

By Makhtum Muziransa

Uganda lead their second round Fifa U-20 Women World Cup qualifier against neighbours Kenya 7-2.

But with the second leg due this afternoon at St. Mary’s College - Kitende, coach Ayub Khalifa has warned his players against complacency and the need to keep performing consistently well in all matches.

Element of undermining
“You get the feeling that the first leg went that way because Kenya had an element of undermining us in the first half,” Khalifa said of the match that ended 7-2 in Nairobi a fortnight ago with Uganda leading 5-0 at halftime.

“When they returned for the second half, they put some resistance and they scored twice.”

Khalifa was recently coaching the U-17 team but graduated to this level with most of his players. 

He therefore has more than just warnings to prepare his players. There are past experiences too albeit those that has counted in Uganda’s favour.

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“I have reminded them about the game against Tanzania (first round qualifier for the cancelled 2021 U-17 World Cup) too. 

“We lost 2-1 away but won 5-0 at home to qualify. There is no reason why we should believe that Kenya will not do the same,” he added.

Fitness concerns
Uganda also go into the encounter concerned about the fitness of midfielder Shakirah Nyinagahirwa, who has struggled with an ankle injury this week. 

More to that, the U-20s, who were still at Fufa Technical Centre - Njeru by yesterday morning, have had no opportunity to train in Kitende but Khalifa and captain Fauzia Najjemba are making no excuses. 

This tourney has seen several budding stars. The winner of this tie plays the winner in the match between South Africa and Mozambique in the third qualification round. The former lead 1-0 heading into the second leg.  

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