The Uganda senior ladies national football team, the Crested Cranes safely returned home on Monday from South Africa where they took part in the just concluded COSAFA Women’s Championship.
The Crested Cranes touched down at Entebbe International Airport at 2:00pm and were welcomed by a delegation from FUFA led by 2nd Vice President Darius Mugoye.
Mugoye lauded the team for a brilliant performance and indicated the future of women’s football in Uganda is bright.
‘I take this opportunity to welcome back our gallant team and thank them for a job well done. The ladies showed great character and made the country proud. We are optimistic as FUFA that the future of women’s football is bright’ said Mugoye.
Chris Kalibala, a FUFA Executive Committee member and Leader of Delegation thanked FUFA for developing women’s football.
Head coach Faridah Bulega stated that the tournament has given her team several lessons and asserts the progress of the team is evident.
‘I want to first thank the Federation for availing us with this opportunity. Secondly to thank the players for the commitment and commendable performance throughout the tournament. I believe we have picked several lessons and I believe it is a positive progress for the team’ said Bulega
On playing against teams like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia that feature at tournaments like the Africa Women Cup of Nations, Bulega insinuated it was important to face such opponents.
‘We weighed ourselves against some of the best teams on the continent and I believe we benefited a lot and the team managed to show character in all the games’ added Bulega.
Team Captain Tracy Jones Akiror shared similar sentiments with the coach insisting the tournament helped them improve as a team.
‘We played with commitment and thanks be to God for the performance. We managed to get a bronze medal. I believe we benefited as a team, competing against several teams and managing to defeat them’ staked Akiror.
Ruth Aturo who was named the best goalkeeper at the tournament credited her performance to unity.
‘I am delighted about the achievement but it was not an individual effort. It was a collective effort and I am happy that we managed to bring accolade home’ said Aturo.
The team was later treated to a lucheon at Jevine Hotel, Rubaga before the players returned to their respective homes.
Uganda emerged third after defeating Zambia in the third place playoff 1-0. The Crested Cranes played a total of five games, winning three, drawing once and losing on one occasion.
Crested Cranes Games at the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship in South Africa
Uganda 4-3 Swaziland
Uganda 0-0 Namibia
Uganda 2-1 Zimbabwe
Uganda 0-2 South Africa
Third Place Playoff
Uganda 1-0 Zambia
Goalkeepers: Ruth Aturo (UCU Lady Cardinals), Daisy Nakaziro (Muteesa I Royal University), Juliet Adeke (Kawempe Muslim)
Defenders: Viola Namuddu (She MAK), Shadia Nankya (Uganda Martyrs Rubaga), Bridget Nabisalu (Ajax Queens), Aisha Namukisa (Kampala Queens), Grace Aluka (Kawempe Muslim)
Midfielders: Shamirah Nalugya (Israh Soccer Academy), Tracy Jones Akiror (Kawempe Muslim), Shakira Mutiibwa (Gafford Ladies), Spencer Nakachwa (Uganda Martyrs), Phiona Nabbumba (Ajax Queens), Riticia Nabbosa (Lady Doves Masindi)
Forwards: Hasifa Nassuna (UCU Lady Cardinals), Norah Alupo (Saviours Women), Lillian Mutuuzo (Kampala Queens), Zainah Namuleme (Kampala Queens), Juliet Nalukenge (Kawempe Muslim), Resty Nanziri (Kampala Quuens)
Leader of Delegation: Chris Kalibbala
Head coach: Faridah Bulega
Assistant coach: Edward Kaziba
Team Manager: Paul Ssali
Team Doctor: Mable Kabatalindwa
Goalkeeping coach: James Magala
Fitness coach: Oliver Mbekeka
Media Officer: Stephen Mayamba