East Africa

Crested Cranes are CECAFA senior women’s champs

The final of the championship was graced by the speaker of the parliament of Uganda Anitah Among, who handed the victorious Crested Cranes the trophy.

JINJA,UGANDA: Uganda’s National Women’s Football team has won the CECAFA Senior Championship after defeating Burundi 3-1 in the final of the tournament staged at FUFA Technical Center, Njeru.

In front of thousands of fans who gathered in Njeru to cheer the home girls tussle it out with one of the region’s giants, Coach George William Lutalo’s team produced another masterpiece performance to win the eleven-day championship.

The final of the championship was graced by the speaker of the parliament of Uganda Anitah Among, who handed the victorious Crested Cranes the trophy.

After the triumph in both their previous games, the home girls were already fired up to see Burundi off. Striker Sandra Nabweteme put Uganda in the lead in the second minute of the game, before Fazila Ikwaput doubled the lead, just a minute to half time break.

But Uganda had several attempts at the opponent’s goal through Fazila Ikwaput, Sandra Nabweteme, and captain Hasifa Nassuna but they all failed to hit the target. Burundi also came close to scoring a half-time goal but Charlotte Irakunda’s attempt was denied by the woodwork.

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Soon after the beginning of the second half, Burundi’s Joelle Bukuri capitalized on a mistake by Uganda’s defenders to put Burundi back in the game, but they failed to get an equalizer.

Towards the end of the game, striker Sandra Nabweteme relieved Crested Cranes with a third goal, for a two goal lead. Before the final whistle, Hasifa Nassuna came close to scoring the third goal for Uganda, but Burundi’s custodian Amissa Inarukundo stopped her long-range free-kick.

To qualify for the final, Uganda ejected Ethiopia in extra time in another mouth-watering clash. Striker Fazila Ikwaput scored Uganda’s goal in the 115th minute to book a slot in the final while Burundi defeated Tanzania 2-1.

Uganda’s goalkeeper, Daisy Nakaziro was named the best goal-keeper, Tanzania’s striker Clement Tukumbuke was the tournament’s top scorer while Uganda’s Ikwaput was the tournament’s most valuable player.

After winning the regional championship, the girls will gear up for the forthcoming African Women Cup of Nations. Team Head Coach Lutalo has oftentimes been vocal on the regional champions being part of the preparations for the continental Championship. The two finalists had earlier qualified for the continental championship slated for next month in Morocco.

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Speaking to URN, several Crested Cranes fans applauded the girls for their spirited fight. Steven Kavuma from Kampala said he was happy with the performance of the team, but he asked the technical bench to improve the physical ability of the players.

Bisaso Samuel, from Nankwanga, said that the local soccer governing body should prioritize women’s football because of the girls’ performance.

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