Uganda Crested Cranes succumbed to Kenya’s Harambee Starlets on Sunday, ending their dream to represent the country at the women’s continental tournament in Ghana.
The country’s female football side faced a tough challenge on their second leg with their neighbors to the East albeit showing some toughness in the first half of the game.
In the early hours of the game, the Crested Cranes threatened Kenya’s back line with genius attacking from star striker Juliet Nalukenge, who was feeding on crosses from her captain Hasifa Nassuna from the wings.
However, it was Uganda’s lack of sharpness in-front of the goal and poorly coordinated passes on the strike line that made them fail to register on the score sheet in the first half. Kenya’s sticks-lady, Maureen Shimuli, seemed to be on tour.
Uganda’s only highlight of the game came in the 65 minute when Kenya’s Vivian Carzone picked up a free kick at the 18 yard box for open booting Crested Crane’s skipper Nassuna.
Nassuna, however, failed to convert the set piece as move to loop the ball over the four man wall into the net just delivered the ball into Shimuli’s gloves.
Uganda needed a goal to keep their hopes alive for the Ghana Tournament lady’s African Cup after losing to Kenya 1-0 in the first leg of the challenge.
Exhausted and huffing around the pitch by the 70 minute, the Crested Cranes started going for their opponent’s shirts trying to keep up with the threatening pace that strikers like Neddy Atieno and Vivian Carzone had picked.
Cranes Keeper Ruth Aturo, however couldn’t allow a repeat of the first leg. She kept a clean sheet.
“It’s a bad feeling not to win [at] home. We were very wasteful in both halves. We had chances to score, but the Kenyans had the advantages of physique size winning most of the aerial balls especially in defense,” Skipper Nassuna said regrettably.
The aggregate win of 1-0 in favor of Kenya means the Starlets have advanced to face the Equatorial Guinea in the first leg of the African women cup of nations in Ghana.