Kampala. Crested Cranes coach Faridah Bulega, believes Saturday’s 1-2 win over 2016 bronze medalists Ethiopia firmly puts Uganda in the driving seat to triumph at the ongoing Cecafa Women Football Championship in Kigali – Rwanda.
Uganda received the ultimate test against an Ethiopia side that passes opponents into submission. Bulega’s pragmatic side fought hard in the Kigali heat but succumbed in the 39th minute as captain Ware Birtukan finished off a team goal from less than five yards.
“Ethiopia were the perfect challenge as they were fast and superior in technique, they beat us 4-1 at home in the 2016 edition and took the lead here so it was just our day today,”Bulega said.
Uganda reacted by bringing on the industrious Esther Naluyimba for forward Zainah Namuleme before halftime to stop Ethiopia from running riot. It was clear, Uganda could do with the break when it came.
Bulega then moved defensive lynchpin Yudaya Nakayenze further up pitch as defender Bridget Nabisaalu replaced midfielder Phionah Nabbumba.
In the 68th minute, left back Grace Aluka whose free kick hit the woodwork in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Kenya, found the equalizer as Uganda capitalized on yet another setpiece.
Seven minutes later, Nakayanze found what proved to be the winner – heading in Viola Namuddu’s delivery from a freekick – before she was thrown back to defence to shore things up. “I believe that we have one hand on the trophy but we have to fight till the very end to lift it,” Bulega, whose side confront holders Tanzania today, said.
Tanzania have a lot to prove as they have had a poor start – by the standards exhibited in 2016 – losing Thursday’s opener to Rwanda and drawing 1-1 with Kenya despite taking the lead inside 12 minutes.
women’s cecafa – today
Uganda vs. Tanzania 3pm
Rwanda vs. Ethiopia 5.15pm