Uganda U-17 Team thrashed Tanzania 5-0 at the StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo on Saturday, to book a place in the playoff qualifying round of FIFA U-17 Women World Cup due November 2020 in India.
Tanzania coach Bakari Shime was quick to express his disappointment with what he referred to as ‘unhealthy’ for the game.
Shime accused Uganda of using over age players against his genuinely young players.
The players he pointed out include Grace Aluka, Fauzia Najjemba, Shamira Nalujja, and captain Juliet Nalukenge
Regards Nalukenge’s case, Shime posed a pool of questions about how she can really be U-17 as the tournament regulations demand.
“In 2018, we played against Uganda in CECAFA and Nalukenge was on that team. Two years later she is below 17,” a furious Shime told Football256 after the game.
“You want to convince me she was 14 years and playing for a senior national team. Come on, we are Africans and we know what talent development requires.”
“How can an African country rely on a 16-year-old as their leading striker even on the senior team?” he questioned.
Shime also pointed at how Nalukenge was Uganda’s top scorer in the African Women Cup of Nations qualifiers recently.
He continues to ridiculously wonder how a certain Nalujja (Shamirah) could really be eligible to play for the under 17 age group with her talent.
Although she did not score in the five-goal rout, Nalujja’s display propelled the many fans that turned up at Lugogo to hand her notes of cash in appreciation of her skill on the ball.
Tanzania managed to keep the tie within touching distance, trailing 1-0 until the 75th minute when the flood gates opened.
Conceding four goals in the final 15 minutes. Something the Tanzanian gaffer puts down to the age difference between the two sides.
“Do you know why most of the goals in the game came late save for Margret Kunihira’s goal in the 43rd minute?”
“It’s simply because my young players burnt out and Uganda’s mature ones were just picking up,” elaborated the angry but vocal ‘black wizard’, as famously called in Tanzania.
Asked about his next step, Shine answers; “It’s not in my hands but I will identify complain about those players to my bosses and see what’s next because we have evidence on them.
It should be noted that an MRI test is done for all under age teams ahead of tournaments and so was the case before the start of the qualifiers.
Furthermore, passports are the only official document that stipulates a players’ age in association football. Whether Shime has a point or not is left to the rules of the game.