It was always going to be a no brainer for Apollon Ladies FC forward Juliet Nalukenge to make the final twenty-four players shortlist of the U-20 Uganda Women National Team despite having joined the team three days ago.
The game will be the first leg of the 2022 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifiers and will take centre stage on Saturday, September 25 as the two old rivals play for a place in the coveted junior championship.
Nalukenge’s inclusion should come as no shock to anyone given her vast experience playing for the team but most importantly, her undoubtable contribution in terms of the offensive game.
Head coach Ayub Khalifa knows her abilities first hand and expounds that having such a player join them on the trip to Kenya is a big morale booster for the team since she is an inspiration.
“Nalukenge offers a lot to the team and having her join us is huge never mind the fact that it was on short notice. He brings a lot to the team in terms of inspiration and we are lucky to have her join us,” Khalifa told Football256 in an interview.
He would continue to talk about her late show: “She had just made a big career move to Cyprus and we had to wait for the team to release her but also allow her time to acclimatize with her new surroundings.”
Meanwhile, the shortlist comprises two custodians, six defenders, seven midfielders and five forwards who will be charged with the responsibility of finding goals for the team.
The team played three practice games against Crested Cranes while in Camp at FUFA Technical Center Njeru but managed to only win one as the senior side took the lion’s share.
Coach Ayub further noted that the final squad has got the required ability to register good results in a game against Kenya before the return leg in Kampala two weeks later.
“I think these are the best players we have selected to go and do the job. I have the belief that the squad selected is competent to help us secure the result we want.” Ayub noted.
The team travelled to Nairobi, Kenya today, Thursday, September 23 at 6:00 am EAT where they will lockhorns with fellow East African rivals Kenya.
Final Squad set to travel
Goalkeepers: Daphine Nyayenga (Lady Doves FC), Joan Namusisi (Kampala Queens FC)
Defenders: Sumayah Komuntale (Tooro Queens FC), Grace Aluka (Olila High School FC), Biira Nadunga (Olila High School FC), Samalie Nakacwa (Kawempe Muslim FC), Halima Kanyago (Lady Doves FC), Aisha Nantongo (Kawempe Muslim Ladies)
Midfielders: Shamirah Nalugya (Kawempe Muslim Ladies FC), Shakirah Nyinagahirwa (Kawempe Muslim Ladies FC), Zaina Nandede (Kataka SHE FC), Catherine Nagadya (Uganda Martyrs High School), Margaret Kunihira (Kawempe Muslim Ladies FC), Kevin Nakacwa (Uganda Martyrs High School FC), Zaituni Namaganda (Taggy High School FC)
Forwards: Fauzia Najjemba (Kampala Queens), Hadijah Nandago (Kawempe Muslim Ladies FC), Juliet Nalukenge(Apollon Ladies FC), Joweria Nagadya (Lady Doves FC), Eva Naggayi (Rines SS WFC)