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Crested Cranes and their Ethiopian woes

By Football256 Team
Crested Cranes players pose for a team photo before they faced Ethiopia on Wednesday, the two team will meet for the return leg on Saturday at Lugogo | FUFA Image

As Crested Cranes prepare to play Ethiopia in the return leg of the CAF Africa Qualifiers Women’s Tournament Olympics Games Tokyo 2020 on Saturday at StarTimes Stadium Lugogo, there are many things which have to change if they are to advance to the next round.

The 3-2 result against Ethiopia in the first leg was determined by these factors as observed by keen women football writer in Uganda, Shafic Mutebi.

Ethiopia played mind games

It was Crested Cranes’ first time to travel to Ethiopia in a long time but their third meeting in the last three years. Crested cranes failed to train the last training after a heavy downpour but this also came as a factor after Ethiopia’s failure to provide transport on time.

The bus had to be at the hotel at 14hrs but came at 1630hrs, traveling to the stadium was very difficult because of evening traffic jam. Ethiopia had also failed to provide a lead car for the smooth movement whenever the ream wanted to go.

Crested cranes overrated by many against Ethiopia

No one doubts Crested Cranes’ potential but young girls playing away and coming back with the 3-2 result was a remarkable feat. But what did we expect playing against a team whose average age is 31 against our team whose average age is 19.

Playing style executed

Crested Cranes don’t have a playing style and if they really want to believe they have, then it have was not executed on Wednesday. Ethiopia possessed the ball from the start almost to the end of the game.

They play a good passing game with a lot of experience, they are patience and wait for that right moment to attack worked for them that’s why they were able to score three.

A shaky first half

Crested cranes failed to play in the first half, they had no concentration, no balance not even manning the flanks which is their weapon. Actually, they were lucky to concede just once in the first half thanks to shot stopper Ruth Aturo who made a lot of saves to keep the team’s dream alive.

Sandra Nabweteme missed a penalty which would have been an equalizer for the visitors but even before that Lilian Mutuuzo missed an open opportunity to give Crested Cranes the lead and that was all for them in the first 45 minutes.

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L-R Edward Kaziba-Assistant Coach, Olive Mbekeka-Trainer, Faridah Bulega-Head Coach, James Magala-Goalkeeping coach in a deep discussion | FUFA Images

Poor defending

Crested Cranes defenders had a very bad day in office, on many occasions they failed to clear the ball from the danger area. They lacked balance in defence, they were troubled by every Ethiopian attack in the final third. Much as without mentioning names, few players played to their best.

What should crested cranes do to go through?

Press hard upfront

Ethiopia builds play from the back so Crested Cranes have to press with their attackers and force them to play long balls which is not their style.

Aturo should be at her best

She was the hero for Uganda in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia would have scored like six before Crested Cranes scoring in the last five minutes of the game.

Make Ethiopia run

Ethiopia women national team has thirteen players who are in their 30s and above so, Crested Cranes have to make them run whenever they have the ball as they did at the beginning of second half in Ethiopia which really worked well.

The Faridah Bulega coached side need a 1-0 win if they are to go through to the next round, it is expected to be a tough game on both sides.

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