Thursday, September 30
*Namibia Vs Uganda – 1pm (EAT)
*Zambia Vs Eswatini – 4:30pm
Uganda’s Women’s National team, the Crested Cranes, will get their 2021 COSAFA Women’s championship campaign underway against Namibia at the Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
The Crested Cranes, just like South Sudan and Tanzania, are guests at the 9th edition – a tournament for teams from Southern part of Africa.
Uganda who is pitted in Group C alongside Namibia, Zambia and Eswatini, is using the tournament to prepare for the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers where Uganda will face Ethiopia in the first round.
The team is under coach George Lutalo who was appointed this month to replace Faridah Bulenga who was doing a coaching course then in Nairobi, Kenya.
“The COSAFA Women’s Championship presents a good opportunity for us to know how best we can go into the AWCON Qualifiers,” Coach Lutalo stated.
“We hope to have the best performance in South Africa as build up to the games against Ethiopia.”
Before leaving for South Africa, the team camped at FUFA Technical Centre in Njeru where they played three (won two) practice games against Uganda Women U20 team preparing for Kenya in U20 World Cup Qualifiers.
The team will not be with Yudaya Nakayenze (Lindey Wilson College, USA) and Shiraz Natasha (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, Israel) due to travel issues.
Uganda will bank on the attacking pair of Sandra Nabweteme (Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar, Iceland) and Hasifa Nassuna (UCU Lady Cardinals) who will seek to rekindle their indomitable partnership at club level (Kawempe Muslims) back in 2016.
Captain and Goalkeeper Ruth Aturo (UCU Lady Cardinals) will be the other player to watch out for after she was named the best goalkeeper of the tournament when Uganda made her debut at COSAFA in 2018.
Then, Uganda lost to South Africa in the semis before beating Zambia 1-0 in the bronze medal match to finish third thanks to Tracy Jones Akiror goal.
Its an interesting day for Uganda whose Cricket U19 Boys team is also facing Namibia in the World Cup U19 Qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda.
Back to COSAFA, Namibia will be looking to go a step further in the competition after failing to go past the Group Stages in the last four attempts.
They will look to exorcise 2006 demons when they finished second when they were beaten by South Africa 3-1 in the final in Zambia.
The side is ranked 146th in Africa, compared to Uganda who are 154th, in FIFA rankings of Women football.
Nicknamed the Brave Gladiators, Namibia will be under coach Woody Jacobs but will miss captain Zenatha Coleman (Sevilla) who was not released by her club.
“Our team has quality players and I believe can steal the show and highlight themselves to women’s football in the region and the tournament,” coach Woody is quoted by Namibia FA website.
“I am sure they will come through for the country.”
Namibia are well aware that the a positive result against Uganda will lighten their chances of getting out of the group.
The tournament is composed of three groups of four teams each with the Group winners and the best runner-up amongst all groups advance to the semi-finals.
Namibia – Agnes Kauzuu, Emma Naris, Lovisa Mulunga, Selma Enkali, Veronica Van Wyk, Milicent Hikuam, Memory Ngonda, Asteria Angula, Beverly Ueziua, Stella Williams, Anna-Marie Shikusho
Uganda – Ruth Aturo, Viola Namuddu, Eunice Ariokot, Shadia Nankya, Bridget Nabisaalu, Phiona Nabbumba, Reticia Nabbosa, Amina Nababi, Hasifa Nassuna, Resty Nanziri, Sandra Nabweteme
How To Watch
The match will be broadcast live on SuperSport Variety 4 (Dstv Channel 229).
It will also be streamed via COSAFA.TV.
You can as well follow live updates from The-SportsNation social media pages.