In Summary
  • Women soccer. Coach Bulega and forward Nassuna know they must work better on set-pieces as the team looked bereft of ideas whenever they won freekicks in Machakos against Kenya.

KAMPALA.

Uganda’s slim 1-0 loss to Kenya in Machakos on Wednesday means the Crested Cranes have it all to play for in tomorrow’s second leg at Lugogo.
The winner of this first round Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifier plays Equatorial Guinea in the second round for a lace a November 17- December 1 finals in Ghana. Crested Cranes were confroting a better prepared opponent and were therefore defensive in Machakos out of necessity.
For majority of the game, the plan worked – bar that 53rd minute when the sun blurred Ruth Aturo’s vision as a long ball from Lillian Adera found its way into the back of the net. “What we wanted most was to stop the way Kenya has humiliated us in the past,” Crested Cranes captain Hasifah Nassuna shared.
The last time Uganda had visited Kenya in July 2016, Crested Cranes lost 4-0 at Kisumu Stadium in a friendly. When the sides met two months later at the Cecafa Women’s Championship in Njeru, the hosts suffered another loss of the same margin.

Inactivity
The national team has not been engaged in any activity since then so by all means the 1-0 was a massive improvement in terms of game discipline.
“We want to win whenever we play but we are not fools and we know how past meetings have gone. We needed to be in the tie as we go back home. The result and the way we played show we achieved the goal but we need to settle this in Lugogo,” she added.
Coach Faridah Bulega assured the press in Machakos that Uganda will go all out to win at home. Even her Kenyan opposite number David Ouma believes Uganda will change tactics in Lugogo. But whatever, the result, Uganda remain a work in progress and Bulega has a massive rebuilding job on her hands.
Fortunately for her, no matter how far she carries the team in this campaign, there is a Cecafa Women’s Championship due May 12-20 in Rwanda for her to continue scrutinizing the young squad and giving opportunities to others.

Balance
The challenge starts with balancing attack and defence tomorrow. An all out attack system could aid Kenya’s game that starts with building at the back to draw out the opposition before hitting them on the break.
Yet an entirely defensive approach could defeat the purpose of home advantage and might leave the home crowd no more affectionate about women’s football than they already are.