Margaret Kunihira in action for Uganda U17. Courtesy
Margaret Kunihira ran into space to receive the ball. She precisely controlled a low long pass just outside the box, and with composure, she managed to buy herself space and time away from the markers. With power, she rifled into the top corner to beat Tanzania goalkeeper. 1-0.
Kunihira ran towards the corner flag before she was ambushed by her joyous teammates while the TZ goalkeeper was nursing wounds after colliding headfirst with the woodwork in an attempt to keep out a ferocious strike.
That 43rd-minute strike set the platform for Uganda’s 5-0 demolition against neighbors Tanzania at StarTimes Stadium Lugogo and consequently advance to the next round of the FIFA U17 World Cup qualifiers.
The attacking midfielder has always reserved time to pen her name on the score-sheet – including the five goals she bagged in a 20-0 whitewash of minnows Comoros in Cosafa U17.
Kunihira is a promising midfielder who features for Kawempe Muslims Ladies team in FUFA Women Super League.
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The exciting lad is the third born from the family of four children of Margret and Elly Kyahura.
A mutooro by tribe, she was born 16 years ago at Buhinga hospital in Fort Portal district.
Her family did not have passion for sports, besides her cousin who she could join to play with at certain hours just for leisure.
She attended Kazungu primary school from nursery to primary Seven, and during her primary six, she represented her school in a regional tournament held in Fort and that’s when everyone realised how talented she was.
She excelled at the said tourney, and was picked by two coaches Rogers Ayesiga and Solomon Nyakaru in 2016.
She later joined Kings of Kings College for her secondary level but she was there until senior two before her parents, who had realised her gifted natural talent, opted for a footballing school.
Coach Ayesiga who is the current coach of Tooro Queens ladies team describes Kunihira as a hard working player.
“I got Margaret in 2016 while she was in primary as I started my project of girls football,” says coach Ayesiga.
“She learns very fast, very dedicated, talented and she is a hard working player with an eye for a goal as well.
“For the two years with her, she was our top scorer and she needs to be protected for the development of Uganda women football.”
Following an agreement between the parents of Kunihira and the two coaches, she was taken to Kawempe Muslims school, a move that was also fueled by coach Ayub Khalifa, a girls team coach who currently doubles as the U17 women national team coach.
“She is very promising player,” says coach Ayub. “I like her speed, she has good pace and not selfish when playing. She rarely shoots at goal but when she does, it’s a meaningful effort.
Kunihira has also played for Women Elite team Asubo Gafford Ladies team, and she hopes to raise the flag high for her nation.