Fauzia Najjemba celebrates a goal, for Uganda Crested Cranes' second over Ethiopia at St Mary's Stadium, Kitende Credit: John Batanudde

AWCON 2022 Qualifiers (1st Leg): Uganda 2-0 Ethiopia

It is advantage the Uganda Crested Cranes after out-smarting Ethiopia 2-0 during the first leg of the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifier at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.

Midfielders Riticia Nabbosa and Fauzia Najjemba got the goals in each half of the closed doors duel.

Nabbosa scored in the second minute to give the hosts a bright start.

The Uganda Crested Cranes players celebrate their first goal scored by Riticia Nabbosa Credit: John Batanudde

Domestically featuring for newly crowned women league champions Lady Doves, Nabbosa showed composure when she superbly controlled a high ball from Sumaya Komuntale and beat goalkeeper Balcha Bargena Tarikua with an explicit finish.

Margret Kunihira, arguably Uganda’s best player on the evening had a 6th minute delivery well defended by Getenet Mekonnen.

Hasfa Nassuna came into the mix in the 16th minute with a goal bound shot tamed by goalkeeper Bargena.

Sandra Nabweteeme (middle) in action Credit: John Batanudde

Bargena was then called upon to save from Israel based forward Sandra Nabweteeme following Uganda’s quick counter-attack.

Ethiopian captain Loza Abera Geinore had the first attempt for the visitor when her shot flew wide after a wall pass with Ember Adisu Asfaw in the 20th minute.

Uganda lost goal scorer Nabbosa through injury and on came the hair tinted Shamirah Nalugya.

Ethiopia had the final threat towards Uganda in the closing moments of the first half when Senaf Wakuma Demise’s shot was collected by a steady goalkeeper Ruth Aturo.

Moments defender, woman mountain Shadia Nankya blocked Medina Awol Busser’s shot for a corner-kick well saved.

Margret “Kuni” Kunihira was a thorn in the flesh of Ethiopian team in both halves Credit: John Batanudde

Five minutes into the second half, Uganda introduced Juliet Nalukenge for the tired legs and heart of Nabweteme as the Crested Cranes confirmed their second change.

On the hour mark, Sheebah Zalwango was pushed on for a largely uneffective Hasfa Nassuna.

Nalukenge won a free-kick on the goal after the tiny but skilled forward was   blocked by veteran defender Kanko Maskerem.

Ethiopian defender Hasabe Muso Gila received a yellow card in the 65th minute following a late challenge onto the pacy Kunihira.

Kunihira still remained the talking point when her shot from an acute angle got blocked by Hasabe in the 72nd minute.

Aturo recovered from a knock followed a jump to collect a high ball off a free-kick by Asfaw Adisu Emeber.

Riticia Nabbosa in action against Ethiopia Credit: John Batanudde

Fauzia Najjemba connected to Zalwango’s inviting cross from the right flank for a dipping header over the goalkeeper for Uganda’s second goal in the 76th minute.

At this moment, it was done and dusted for the hosts with a defensive strategy to shield the lead in the final quarter an hour.

Ethiopia then introduced Bogale Boyzo Senayt and Mesay Temesgen Tanga were introduced for Hiwot Dengiso Buwoli and Medina Awol Busser respectively.

Kenya based Uganda’s midfielder Joan Nabirye was cautioned for a late challenge.

Sandra Nabweteeme had a silent evening at office Credit: John Batanudde

Nalukenge missed the opportunity to register her name on the score-sheet after tapping high and over a telling delivery from Kunihira on the right flank in the 84th minute.

Rediet Assresahagn Matios was introduced deep in the three added minutes for Demise Senaf Wakuma for Ethiopia.

Uganda held on to win the contest 2-0 with the return leg slated forTuesday, 26th October 2021 in Addis Ababa.

The winner over the two legs on aggregate will make it to the next round to face either Kenya or South Sudan.

Kenya won the first leg with comfort following a 7-0 humiliation of South Sudan.

Uganda Crested Cranes XI Vs Ethiopia Credit: John Batanudde

Team Line Ups:

Uganda Crested Cranes XI: Ruth Aturo (G.K), Sumaya Komuntale, Asia Nakibuuka, Shadia Nankya, Viola Namuddu, Margret Kunihira, Sandra Nabweteme, Hasfa Nassuna, Joan Nabirye, Fauzia Najjemba, Riticia Nabbosa

Subs: Daisy Nakaziro (G.K), Juliet Nalukenge, Phoebe Banura, Sharon Nadunga, Shamirah Nalugya, Sheebah Zalwango

Ethiopia XI Vs Uganda Crested Cranes Credit: John Batanudde

Ethiopia XI: Balcha Bargena Tarikua (G.K), Meskerem Kanko, Asfaw Ember Adisu, Medina Awol Busser, Loza Abera Geinore (Captain), Kalsa Mekonnen Aregash, Nardos Getenet, Buwoli Hiwot Denegiso, Birra Wakuma Demise, Hasabe Musa Gila

Subs: Emiwesh Yirashewa Alemayhu, Eden Shiferaw, Tizita Hmikael Wimeskel, Senayt Bogale Boyzo, Rediet Assresahagn Matios, Mesay Temesgen Tanga, Alemnesh Geremew Asefa

Match Officials:

  • Referee: Josephine Wanjiku (Kenya)
  • Assistant Referee 1: Carolyne Kiles (Kenya)
  • Assistant Referee 2: Jane Cherono (Kenya)
  • Fourth official: Carolyne Wanjala (Kenya)
  • Commissioner: Angelique Tuyishime (Rwanda)

The war is not yet over. We travel to Ethiopia with the hopes that we shall seal the qualification slot. I thank the players for the brevity and courage during the first leg played that we managed to win with two goals without conceding. The preparations for the return leg commence immediately.

Lutalo Bbosa, Uganda Crested Cranes Head coach

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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