SINAN RAJUB SENOGA
Uganda beat Kenya’s Rising Starlets 3-1 in the second leg of the second round of the ongoing U20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers to seal place in the subsequent round.
Kawempe Muslim duo of Margaret Kunihira and Hadija Nandago scored in the first half before Juliet Nalukenge put the icing on the cake the closing stages of the encounter.
The Kenyans who came into the encounter trailing 7-2 on aggregate, found their consolation through Peris Oside’s penalty kick.
Ayub Khalifa named an unchanged line up from the one that won 7-2 in the Nairobi.
16 minutes into the encounter played at Kitende, Kunihira gave Uganda a deserved lead after heading home perfectly from Summaya Komuntale’s corner kick.
Five minutes later, Kenya were awarded a penalty after Bira Naddunga brought down Joy Oriyo in the penalty area.
Oside stepped up and put the ball in the bottom right corner while goalkeeper Daphine Nyayenga stayed on her line.
Nalukenge had a glorious one on one opportunity to restore the lead after being set up by Shamira Nalugya but the Apollon Ladies youngster had her effort saved by the keeper for a corner kick a minute to the half hour mark.
Nandago successfully restored Uganda’s lead in the 40th minute when she fired the ball into the roof of the net following a goalmouth melee after Nalukenge’s effort had been cleared off the line.
The second half saw Ayub Khalifa introduce Catherine Nagadya for Nandago and later Kevin Nakacwa for Kunihira as Uganda sought for the third goal.
Nalukenge almost scored when Shakira Nyinagahirwa set her free but instead missed the target by inches in the 70th minute.
The 2019 MVP also had her goal bound header cleared off the line once again two minutes later.
She however sealed off the evening with a sumptuous free kick after Lavender Akinyi fouled her at the edge of the box in the 90th minute.
The result means that Uganda will face South Africa in the next round. South Africa beat Mozambique 4-2 on aggregate.
This will be the second meeting for these two sides since 2019 when they faced off during the final of U17 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Mauritius.
Uganda won the title after beating South Africa 2-1 courtesy of goals from Juliet Nalukenge and Fauzia Najjemba.
Unlike South Africa, Uganda’s Ayub Khalifa has managed to retain the big crop of the players he used in the U-17 championship two years ago.
The dates for the next round are not confirmed but the aggregate winning team of the tie will face Ghana or the winner between Malawi and Zambia.
Uganda XI; Daphine Nyayenga (GK), Samalie Nakacwa, Bira Naddunga, Aisha Nantongo, Summaya Komuntale, Shakira Nyinagahirwa, Shamira Nalugya, Hadija Nandago (Catherine Nagadya), Margaret Kunihira (Kevin Nakacwa), Fauzia Najjemba, Juliet Nalukenge