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Uganda Crested Cranes Eliminated from CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers by Cameroon

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The Uganda Women’s Football National Team, the Crested Cranes, saw their journey in the 2024 CAF Women’s Olympic qualifying come to an end following a 3-0 defeat in the second leg against Cameroon on Tuesday in Douala, Cameroon.

Despite holding a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, Uganda succumbed to a 27th-minute strike by Njara Nchout Njoya of Cameroon, shattering their lead.

Cameroon further solidified their position with Monique Ngock doubling their lead early in the second half, scoring from a well-executed free kick.

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Uganda put up a strong defense, pushing the game into extra time, but Cameroon ultimately clinched the victory with a goal by Claudine Meffometou in the last four minutes.

However, controversy arose over a foul on goalkeeper Vanessa Edith Karungi just before Cameroon scored their third goal. Karungi required extensive medical attention and was taken to the hospital for further treatment, with Daisy Nakaziro stepping in as her replacement.

Cameroon advanced with a 3-2 aggregate score, marking the conclusion of Uganda’s bid to qualify for the Olympics.

The Crested Cranes’ interim head coach, Charles Ayiekoh Lukula, expressed disappointment with the officiating, suggesting it favored Cameroon’s progression.

“I commend my team for their efforts. Although we’re exiting, we have a strong foundation to build upon. We’ll focus on refining specific areas with our talented team,” said Lukula.

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“While they have secured qualification, they know our team’s capabilities. The outcome of this game illustrates that no team on this continent can defeat us without referee assistance,” Lukula added.

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“Out of their three goals, only one was fair. It seems these West African teams are determined to win by any means.”

Cameroon will now direct their attention to the third qualifying stage where they will face Nigeria, who eliminated Ethiopia 5-1 on aggregate.

Only two African teams will secure qualification for the final tournament set to be held in Paris, France next year.

Uganda Lineup: Vanessa Karungi (GK), Desire Katiisi Natooro, Sumayah Komuntale, Shadia Nankya, Bridget Nabbisalu, Joan Nabirye, Jackline Adong, Shamirah Nalugya, Fauzia Najjemba, Catherine Nagadya, Fazila Ikwaput.

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