KAMPALA. Any member of the women’s national football team Crested Cranes, would be forgiven for being cynical or skeptical about the Cecafa Championship set to kick-off on July 19 in Rwanda.
After all this tournament has been postponed several times, over logistical issues, since Rwanda were announced hosts mid last year. The last time this tourney was called off in May, Crested Cranes were two days away from travelling to Kigali.
But after five days in yet another non-residential training at Star Times Stadium – Lugogo, the spirit is high as coach Faridah Bulega’s charges focus on the task ahead following the new dates.
On Tuesday, the camp was graced by the presence of U20 National Team (Hippos) coach Matia Lule.
“Matia’s coming was immense for the girls, it gave us more motivation and he had a good session with all 25 players present,” Bulega said.
Bulega is building a new side as she will have to with a relatively inexperienced squad devoid of captain Hasifah Nassuna, goalkeeper Ruth Aturo and Yudaya Nakayenze – all key cogs in the last Cecafa squad of 2016 and the 1-0 aggregate defeat to Kenya in the Africa Women Nations Cup qualifiers in March but chasing contracts abroad.
Tanzania won the 2016 edition held in Njeru, where Crested Cranes will have a residential camp from tomorrow till Tuesday when they travel for Thursday’s opener against the Kenyans.
“The belief is high in our camp and we are not worried about any opponent. We believe we are good team and we can only if the others are better after we play them,” Bulega added.
Midfielder Tracy Jones Akiror is expected to take over as captain and she was in bullish mood promising Uganda, who finished fourth last time, can challenge for the title.
“We have really improved fitness-wise in the last four days. The coaches are doing a great job and we hope to perform to their expectations when we get to Rwanda,” Akiror said.