Uganda picked all points from their Cecefa engagements right from the group stage fixtures, through to the finals before they were eventually crowned Champions of the regional tournament at Njeru last month on 11th.
That kind of performance meant the team was ready to take on Africa at the ongoing Women Africa Nations Cup in Morocco. This was so because head coach George William Lutalo thought his team was ready in every inch, player division and, too, thought the team members.
Upon arriving in Morocco, the celebrated regional 2022 Champions’ fire is no more. And their progression chances to the knockout stage is dependent on severe mathematics, based on how the other results of the group `A` might come out.
Coach Lutalo confesses his team’s hopes are slim with only one game left for the Cranes to fly either in, or out, enroute the next stage.
Crested Cranes suffered their second straight loss at the on-going TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) 2022, on Wednesday night. The CECAFA regional giants lost 3-1 to hosts Morocco in a Group `A` match, played at the Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex in Rabat. Before that, they had, on Sunday lost 2-0 to Senegal in the opener. And signs are glaring, they are likely to fly out of Morocco to Kampala, empty handed.
Limping on Komuntale’s single:
The team whose fire power at the Cecafa is not being reflected in Morocco is now limping on lucky defender Sumaya Komuntale’s leg. She has so far netted Uganda’s tournament lone goal coming against hosts Morocco on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, she was later sent off for a second bookable offence, striping bare, the team whose hopes have continued to dwindle.
Hope against Hope:
As a coach, Crested Cranes` George Lutalo believes his side still has a chance to progress. He confesses though that clearly, they have slim chances to make it to the knock out round. It calls for very hard work if they must progress Tomorrow-Friday as they face Burkina Faso in Casablanca for their very last group A match.
“We need to continue working hard so that we beat Burkina Faso in our last Group A match and hope that other results can work in our favor.”
Added the Coach; “We know the last game with Burkina Faso will be like a final because Burkina Faso will also want to win.” After losing 2-0 to Senegal and 3-1 to Morocco, Crested Cranes team are bottom of Group A pointless. For Senegal and Morocco, they are well into the knock out round leaving Uganda and Burkina Faso behind.
Burkina Faso Game:
The Uganda Crested Cranes will play their last Group game on July 8th at the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca. Burkina Faso however won’t be an easy game for Uganda going by both teams’ statistics and depths. True, Burkina Faso are one of four debutants at this year’s tournament, but Coach Pascal Sawadogo’s ‘The Stallions’ are the best-ranked of the four nations debuting at WAFCON this year.
Ranked 138th, Burkina Faso arrived with a squad where all but two players are based on home soil. Uganda, ranked 156th takes a team with the biggest bunch playing locally. They are not the first team that comes to mind when one thinks of Africa’s strongest football nations, but the Stallions are nonetheless among the best sides according to the Fifa rankings.
Uganda, goes back at WAFCON after a 22-year absence, won the Cecafa Cup in June but is not a force to reckon on this second appearance as seen in their first two group game loses. The first time they appeared was in 2000 with little impact finishing in the group stages.
The Crested Cranes are just the second lowest ranked team in the competition (156th). How they qualified was sheer luck shocking Ethiopia before being gifted a return ticket thanks to Kenya’s withdrawal. Not to spell doom for the Ugandan girls and coach Lutalo, their best result on Friday against Burkina Faso could be a draw.
- Mr. Daniels N. Tatya is an affluent Sports Writer, Commentator and Editor. His over 15 years of covering almost major sporting events makes him a revered and an authority on investigative Sports journalism in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected] +256(0)758268315
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