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Crested Cranes Triumph Over Cameroon in the 2024 Olympic Women’s Qualifier’s First Leg

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Crested Cranes Triumph Over Cameroon in the 2024 Olympic Women’s Qualifier's First Leg
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In an exhilarating encounter at the FUFA Technical Centre in Njeru, the Uganda Women’s Football National Team, known as the Crested Cranes, achieved a remarkable victory over Cameroon with a scoreline of 2-0 in the first leg of the 2024 Olympic Women’s qualifiers. The match took place on a Thursday evening, and it was a memorable occasion for Ugandan football enthusiasts.

The home team displayed a stellar performance, with Catherine Nagadya and Fazila Ikwaput taking center stage as they contributed the goals that led to the Crested Cranes’ impressive victory. Nagadya opened the scoring with a goal in the 11th minute, capitalizing on a rebound after Cameroon’s goalkeeper, Bihina Michaely, mishandled a free kick delivered by Shamirah Nalugya. Nagadya’s opportunistic strike gave the hosts an early lead, setting the tone for an enthralling contest.

Uganda extended their advantage as the game progressed, with Fazila Ikwaput doubling the lead with a close-range finish in the 77th minute. The goal was a result of a well-executed play, initiated by captain Fauzia Najjemba, who delivered a precise low cross. After several blocked attempts, Ikwaput found the back of the net, sealing the victory for the Crested Cranes.

In the first half, Cameroon had an opportunity to narrow the deficit when they were awarded a penalty after Justine Najjuko was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. However, Cameroon’s captain, Ajara Njoya, failed to convert the penalty as Uganda’s goalkeeper, Vanessa Karungi, made an outstanding save, and the rebound shot went wide.

The match was not without its share of challenges, as Crested Cranes midfielder Phiona Nabbumba was forced to leave the field due to injury during the second half. Her absence could potentially impact the team’s performance in the upcoming second leg in Douala, making it a point of concern for the coaching staff.

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Charles Ayeikoh Lukula, the interim head coach of the Crested Cranes, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance. He commended the players for their adaptability and their commitment to executing the game plan effectively. Coach Lukula emphasized the importance of avoiding defeat in the second leg in Cameroon to secure progress to the next stage of the qualifiers.

The second leg of this exciting encounter is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 31st October in Douala. The aggregate winner of this tie will advance to face either Ethiopia or Nigeria in the subsequent round. The stakes are high as Uganda aspires to make its debut appearance at the Olympic Games, slated to be held in Paris, France, in the coming year.

The match lineup for both teams was as follows:

Uganda:

  • Vanessa Karungi (GK)
  • Justine Najjuko
  • Sumayah Komuntale
  • Shadia Nankya
  • Joan Nabirye
  • Zaitun Namaganda
  • Phiona Nabbumba
  • Shamirah Nalugya
  • Fauzia Najjemba
  • Catherine Nagadya
  • Fazilah Ikwaput

Cameroon:

  • Bihina Michaely
  • Meffometou Tcheno
  • Essimi Ewoudou
  • Mariane Maague
  • Ngasseh Mbele
  • Eto Naomi
  • Brigitte Omboudou
  • Kome Aretouyah
  • Kevin Ossol
  • Ngah Manga
  • Ajara Njoya

The first leg of the 2024 Olympic Women’s qualifier showcased the prowess of the Crested Cranes, and fans eagerly anticipate the return fixture. As the journey towards Olympic qualification continues, the Crested Cranes have taken a significant step closer to realizing their dreams of representing Uganda on the global stage.

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