On 3rd July 2016, the Uganda Women National Football team, the Crested Cranes had a feel of international football in the 4-0 loss to one of the 2016 Africa Women Championship finalists, Kenya Harambee Starlets.
For starters, the fixture held at the Moi Sports Complex in Kisumu was Uganda’s first international match since 2012 against the Democratic Republic of Congo ladies.
The match result aside, the game presented a lot on the table for the two federations, team players’ assessment and overall trend of the development of Women Football in the two respective countries.
Fast forward, the Kisumu game was a vivid fruit of Uganda’s rejuvenation of the beautiful game among the female gender during the epoch of FUFA president, Moses Magogo.
In 2013, Uganda U-20 ladies humiliated their counterparts from South Sudan 22-0 in a continental qualification engagement.
However, due to the ‘limited’ financial resources, the team could not continue with the qualifiers.
This called for the unfortunate withdrawal from the qualifiers, an executive decision that was taken as a spring board to plan further for the game growth in the country.
Meanwhile, Women Football continued to take shape in institutions of learning at the same time the federation sponsored Mamma Becca Women tourney continued to be honoured.
A year later, the idea of the first ever FUFA Women Elite League – a nationwide project was conceived.
In 2015, the first edition was played with eight clubs and so was the case in the subsequent season (2016).
For the two editions, Kawempe Muslim Secondary School has emerged champions.
The FUFA Women Elite League has provided a crucial platform to scout talent, develop the up-coming players and showcase the exceptional skills from all the players.
For two seasons running, Hasfa Nassuna and Sandra Nabweteeme, two former U-20 players have scooped the MVP and top scorers’ accolades respectively in clinical fashion.
This Kawempe Muslim partnership has tallied 87 goals in two editions – a return enviable anywhere in the world.
For the record, Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) takes the due credit for the advisory, financial and material support for FUFA towards the development of Women Football in the country.
From technical development (through coaches education), courses (Administrative, FIFA Com-Unity and Live Your Goals), donations of playing footballs, team jerseys to financial assistance, without doubt FIFA has played to perfection the father and mother duties to their favourite son.
It was from the Women Elite League that a pool of skilled players was drawn to play the Kisumu international match.
FUFA President, Moses Magogo maintains, it is still work in progress;
The development process of women football in Uganda is on a positive and gradual trend. With the national league in place, the national FA cup starting in the 2016/17 edition and the building process of our national team, we shall soon be there.
National women head coach, Majidah Nantanda predicts a bright future for women’s football in the country;
We continue to monitor players from schools and teams in the domestic league.
The future is bright given this pace.
Uganda is set to host the CECAFA Women Championship in mid September 2016 at the FUFA Technical Center where atleast eight member states have duly confirmed to be part.
This regional tourney is not only a spring board for the enthusiastic players to enjoy the beautiful game, but also an avenue to exploit their full potential as fresh opportunities await them.
On a positive development too, FUFA has indicated that the starting next season, there will be a female F.A cup.
Given the aforementioned rich background of Ugandan women football for the past five years or so, the ground is fertile for even more enticing offers in the game.
Full professionalization of the game is the next intended target with eager eyes set on two coveted prizes at stake – qualification to AWCON and the FIFA Women World Cup.