New Uganda coach George Lutalo has named a 32-player provisional squad for the 2021 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay from Sept. 28-Oct. 9, where the East African nation will appear as guests for the second time in three years.
The Crested Cranes will use the regional showpiece competition to prepare for the 2022 CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that start next month, where Uganda will face Ethiopia and then potentially Kenya or South Sudan in the next stage.
Lutalo has been drafted in to replace Faridah Bulega as coach, with the latter taking a break to concentrate on a CAF B License Coaching Course.
Lutalo will be assisted by Edward Kaziba, with James Magala also continuing to serve as goalkeeper coach.
The technical team has started preparations for the COSAFA Women’s Championships by naming a provisional squad that will begin their camp on September 10.
There are a number of familiar names, not least experienced goalkeeper Ruth Aturo, Iceland-based forward Sandra Nabweteme and striker Shiraz Natasha, who plays in Israel.
Uganda have been drawn in Group C at the COSAFA Women’s Championships, where they will start their campaign against Namibia. The team will also face Eswatini and Zambia in their pool, with only the top team in each group advancing to the semifinals along with the best-placed runner-up.
They topped a strong pool three years ago, defeating Eswatini 4-3 in their opener, before a 0-0 draw with Namibia was followed by a 2-1 victory over Zimbabwe in what proved the decisive fixture.
That put them in a collision course with South Africa in the semifinals, with the home side claiming a 2-0 success.
Uganda them faced Zambia in the third-place play-off and triumphed 1-0 to take third place.
The Crested Cranes played their first international in 1998, a 1-1 draw with Egypt, and the team has grown steadily since.
Their only previous appearance at the African Women’s Championship came in 2000 when the competition was hosted in South Africa.
They were unlucky not to make the knockout stages after a draw with Zimbabwe (2-2) and victory over Reunion (2-1) saw them lose out on a place in the semifinals on goal-difference to Zimbabwe.
Uganda Provisional Squad:
Goalkeepers: Ruth Aturo (UCU Lady Cardinals FC), Daisy Nakaziro (Lady Doves FC), Elsie Najjemba (Rines WFC), Gloria Namakula (Tooro Queens FC)
Defenders: Viola Namuddu (Makerere University WFC), Shadia Nankya (UCU Lady Cardinals FC), Eunice Ariokot (Olila High School WFC), Bridget Nabisaalu (She Corporate FC), Phoebe Banura (UCU Lady Cardinals FC), Yudayah Nakayenze (Lindsey Wilson College, USA), Justin Kizza Najjuko (She Maroons FC), Asia Nakibuuka (Kawempe Muslim Ladies FC)
Midfielders: Joan Naggayi (She Maroons FC), Rhoda Nanziri (Kawempe Muslim Ladies FC), Riticia Nabbosa (Lady Doves FC), Kautharah Naluyima (She Maroons FC), Sheebah Zalwango (Asubo Gafford Ladies FC), Phiona Nabbumba (She Corporate FC), Grace Nassongo (Amuria High School FC), Spencer Nakacwa (Lady Doves FC), Norah Alupo (Lady Doves FC), Amina Nababi (Makerere University WFC), Resty Kobusobozi (Tooro Queens FC), Anita Namata (Uganda Martyrs High School FC)
Forwards: Hasifa Nassuna (UCU Lady Cardinals FC), Fazila Ikwaput (Lady Doves FC), Sharon Naddunga (Kawempe Muslim Ladies FC), Resty Nanziri (Kampala Queens FC), Sandra Nabweteme (Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar, Iceland), Laki Otandeka (New Jersey Copa FC, USA), Shiraz Natasha (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera FC, Israel)