Uganda U20 Women National Team captain Fauzia Najjemba was untainted in indicating that there was to be no room for complacency as the team approaches the return leg of the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifier bout against Kenya.
Ayub Khalifa’s side convincingly won the first leg 7-2 in Nairobi to return home with a comfortable advantage thereby rendering qualification more or less a guarantee.
The humongous scoreline from the first leg has since provoked talk amongst the fans that the second leg encounter, scheduled for Friday October 8th at the St. Mary’s Stadium, Kitende was something of a waste of time.
Najjemba however had different ideas when addressing the media at the FUFA Technical Centre, Njeru following the conclusion of the last training session.
“We are not relaxed because we are aware of the fact that the job is far from done despite winning away in Kenya,” Najjemba told the press.
“We are determined to do our best and qualify for the World Cup so as to continue the fight towards achieving our dreams as professionals. We hold a winning mentality as a team and I am sure that will help us going forward.”
When asked about the uncharacteristic defensive errors that saw them concede two goals against East African rivals Kenya, Najjemba highlighted that enough work had been done to rectify the mistakes during preparations.
“We have been trying to rectify the mistakes that were captured in the first leg. We conceded twice and can not afford to do the same on Friday,” she claimed.
“The coaches have prepared us well and all players are in a good mood. We have not taken any backward steps, thus focus will be required in our approach to the game,” she concluded.
Team Uganda will continue to bank on the services of Juliet Nalukenge, whose consistency was reechoed by the brace but also assisted a goal most notably when she was taken down in the opposition box to win a penalty.
Kenya on the other hand will require the sharpness of Shaylene Opisa-whose two goals in the first leg have been responsible for their rejuvenated hope coming into the game.
The game will be officiated by a Burundian quartet, Suavis Iratunga will be the center referee, Arcella Uwizera and Fide Bangurambona as first and second assistants respectively while Darlene Nduwayo will be the fourth official.
It is also important to note that this will be the second attempt for Uganda to chase for a World Cup slot with the first attempt having been agonizingly ended by Tanzania in a 2-1 loss at MTN Omondi Stadium. The tie ended 4-2 on aggregate.
The winner between the two rivals will lockhorns with either of Mozambique or South Africa in the next qualification round of the World football’s most coveted tournament.