Africa Games 2023: Queen Cranes win bronze after intense shootout victory over Senegal

Africa Games 2023 – Women (Third playoffs)
Uganda 0(6)-0(5) Senegal – Penalties in brackets

Uganda’s U20 Women’s National team, the Queen Cranes Thursday secured the bronze medal in women’s football after a heart-stopping clash against Senegal at the Africa games in Ghana.

Despite facing formidable challenges along the road to the bronze medal match, the resilient Ugandan team showcased their determination and skill, ultimately emerging victorious in a dramatic penalty shootout.

The journey to the bronze medal match was marked by adversity for the Queen Cranes, who faced a tough defeat in the semi-finals against Nigeria, falling short with a 2-0 scoreline. However, undeterred by this setback, the Ugandan squad regrouped and set their sights on clinching third place in the tournament.

The final showdown against Senegal proved to be a test of endurance and nerve for both teams. The match unfolded with tense moments and near misses, as Catherine Nagadya’s header struck the crossbar early in the game, foreshadowing the intensity of the battle to come.

Senegal were awarded a penalty in the 42nd minute, but they failed to convert, keeping the score deadlocked at 0-0 as the first half drew to a close.

The second half saw the Queen Cranes continue to press forward, with Zainah Nandede coming agonizingly close to breaking the deadlock with a shot that hit the crossbar.

As the match entered its final stages, both teams made strategic substitutions in a bid to gain the upper hand. However, with regular time ending in a stalemate, the outcome was decided by a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.

In a display of nerves of steel, the Queen Cranes held their composure, prevailing 6-5 in the shootout to claim the bronze medal. The victory was a testament to the team’s resilience and determination, overcoming the disappointment of the semi-final defeat to secure a podium finish.

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In a tweet, the President of the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA), Honorable Moses Kesim Magogo, extended his congratulations to the Queen Cranes for their outstanding performance and bronze medal win at the African Games.

He expressed his pride in the team’s achievement and highlighted the strategic approach taken by FUFA in nurturing the women’s football program.

“I want to congratulate the Queen Cranes for winning bronze at the African Games. We brought a coach, one of the best on the continent, and we allowed her to build a team,” Magogo tweeted.

He emphasized the importance of patience and long-term planning in developing a competitive team, acknowledging that progress takes time but noting the positive signs emerging from the team’s performance.

“It is going to take time but we can already see certain things are working out,” President Magogo affirmed.

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The triumph holds significance for Ugandan women’s football, marking another milestone in the country’s participation in the African Games since the introduction of women’s football in 2003.

Despite the challenges faced along the way, the Queen Cranes have once again showcased their prowess on the continental stage, bringing home a well-deserved bronze medal.

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