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Crested Cranes relishing Zimbabwe test despite weather challenges

FOOTBALL | After fighting off a late comeback from Botswana to win their first game 4-3, Uganda is now looking for their second match against Namibia on Saturday.

The team has been boosted by the arrival of six players who were forced to miss the opening game due to delays at their airport on Monday.

Youngster Lilian Mutuuzo, as well as team mates Juliet Nalukenge, Shadia Nankya, Aisha Namukisa, Shamirah Nalugya and Grace Aluka have joined the rest of the Crested Cranes and their arrival will provide the much needed boost for the team.

Team head coach faridah Bulega is confident they can maintain their inning record with the inclusion of the six, especially Lilian Mutuuzo and left back Grace Aluka.

“We expect a good match against Namibia. We are going for a win because it’s only the top spot that can guarantee a semi-final spot. We were boosted by the six players who came late so the team is set,” Bukega said.

She confirmed no injury worries but, just like her captain Tracy Akiror, complained of the unfamiliar weather that seem to be affecting her team.

“There are no injuries, all the players are in good shape though the weather this side is not very friendly. Zimbabwe won their match yesterday so we have to do our best and see we get the three points. We need to top the group so that we can play more games in the semi-finals,” Akiror added.

Bulega may be forced to adjust her team to accommodate Lilian Mutuuzo, Juliet Nalukenge and Grace Aluka in the starting team.

Mutuuzo is expected to add more firepower upfront as she comes from the right wing to beef up Hassifa Nassuna.

Zimbabwe beat Swaziland (now called Eswatini) 3-0 to ascend to the top of Group C, meaning that Uganda must win their game to keep the hope of progressing alive.

Only the top teams from the three groups and the best runners-up will qualify for the semi-finals.

Swaziland’s fate has been sealed after two losses.

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