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Coach Bulega toasts to anniversary with Crested Cranes third-place finish in Cosafa Cup

On Farida Bulega's first anniversary as Crested Cranes coach, the national team beat Zambia to take third-place consolation prize in Cosafa Cup in which they participated as guests

FOOTBALL | Exactly a year after Farida Bulega took over as head coach of the national women’s team, Uganda Crested Cranes, she has punched beyond expectations and etched her name in the books of history.

The coach was promoted to the senior role on September 20th last year taking over from her former boss Majidah Nantanda.

The coach has so far led the team in two tournaments and one Africa Women Cup qualifiers. She has won a medal in the two tournaments – Cecafa and Cosafa Women championships — but failed to progress past Kenya in the continental qualifiers.

On Saturday afternoon, Uganda were awarded with a bronze medal in South Africa after defeating Zambia in the third-place playoffs of the 2018 Cosafa Women Cup.

Crested Cranes goalkeeper Ruth Aturo was also awarded the golden gloves for match-defining saves throughout the tournament.

“We achieved our objectives and the girls played their all out. The tournament has been great and the girls have achieved more than they were expected on their first appearance,” Bulega said after beating Zambia.

Captain Tracy Akiror converted a second half penalty that gifted the Ugandans the win at the Wolfson stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The impressive Akiror credits the team’s performance the federation’s continued support, elite league clubs, schools and the coaches.

“Our good run is as a result of many positive factors: Fufa has made sure we are busy with tournaments and camps, the women elite league competitiveness has helped the national technical team bench to identify more talents and increased competition for places and the coaches who groom us from the clubs and schools,” Akiror said.

Hosts South Africa defended their title after seeing off Cameroon 2-1 in a nervy final.

Road to bronze

Uganda and Cameroon were both participating as invited guests. The Crested Cranes were drawn in group C alongside Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Namibia.

Their campaign kicked off last Wednesday with a thrilling 4-3 win over Swaziland thanks to a brace by Hassifa Nassuna and a goal each by Resty Nanziri and Norah Alupo.

Uganda drew 0-0 with Namibia three days later before surprising Zimbabwe with a 2-1 victory to win the group on the last group match.

They faced South Africa in the semi-final but lost 2-0 before setting the date with Zambia who had lost to Cameroon.

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