A brief history of the Uganda Women Football; Coaching and it’s Administration

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By Edward Tumusiime

Women football in Uganda started way back in the early 90s with girls and women playing the sport for fun. The game was scanty with no defined structures as compared to the current status in the Country. Girls and women would play against men’s teams just to create competitiveness and interest in their sport. 

Mrs. Kazibwe ‘Mama Becca’ Rebecca and Mr. Paul Ssali are the founding members of women football in Uganda. Ssali was Uganda Cranes goalkeeper in 1978, the last time Uganda appeared at the Nations cup finals.

The then National senior team, the She-Kobs (Now Crested Cranes) would be hand-picked due to lack of defined competitions. As a result of this, a national league was started in the mid-90s but suffered a natural death due to various challenges but primarily sponsorship.

The National team played its first international match in Nairobi Kenya in 1994. The first qualification attempt for the Africa Cup for women was in 1998 when Uganda hosted Egypt at Nakivubo Stadium and drew 1 : 1 and lost  0 : 1 away upon the return fixture in Cairo.

The tournament in South Africa (2000) where Uganda emerged 3rd, after beating Reunion 3 : 0, drawing 2 : 2 with Zimbabwe and losing 0 : 2 to the hosts, was an eye opener to most Ugandans and many fans as they reignited their interest in women football. Schools and other women teams started to play the game.

On the third attempt, in the Africa Women Cup, Uganda played Ethiopia over two legs in 2003 but unfortunately were eliminated once again on goal aggregate (2 – 3).

Women Football Structures in Uganda at the start of the leadership of FUFA President Lawrence Mulindwa (2005-2013) improved and the game gained some progress. Emphasis was put on grassroot development and coaching education. Leagues were played at district and regional levels. It became slightly easy to select players for various National teams.

The number of school girls’ teams playing the game is tremendously increasing because on average, 50 teams participate in the annual national post-primary tournament with the best teams representing the country at the East Africa Secondary Schools Games.

These school championships have produced players like Sandra Nabweteme, Aturo Ruth, Hasifah Nassuuna, Fauzia Najjemba, Mutuzo Lillian, Vanesa Karungi, Asia Nakibuuka, Juliet Nalukegnge, Sawuya Sana and Sanya Babirye. Schools have also played a key role in feeding local women football clubs with players.

Under the current leadership of FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo, women regional leagues have been emphasized and strengthened and the FUFA Women Elite League was started in 2015.

The FUFA Women Elite League has had 16 teams since the 2018/2019 season to date even though it started with 12 teams back in the 2015 maiden campaign.

Women football coaching, administrative seminars, and courses have been conducted to take women football to another level under the reign of the current FUFA President.

Participation at international level has on a couple of occasions encountered setbacks. For Instance, during the qualification campaign for the U20 teams in the 2009 FIFA World Cup qualifiers hosted by Germany, Uganda beat Rwanda 2 : 1 at home and drew 1 : 1  away but failed to proceed to play in Zambia and South Africa  in the other qualification matches due to

lack of funds.

Again, the National U20 faced off with South Sudan in a 1st round World cup qualifier in 2013  where Uganda beat South Sudan 9 : 0 away and 13 : 0 at home in Lugogo thus qualifying for the 2nd round and they were supposed to play Egypt but the North Africans pulled out.
Uganda’s next opponents were Ghana for the 3rd round action but it was unfortunate the team failed to travel to West Africa again due to lack of funds and pulled out.

The Senior national team “Crested Cranes” played friendly games in Egypt (2011) to prepare for the AWC(2012) but DR. Congo eliminated the team on 2 – 5 goal aggregate on their first attempt at qualification.

In September 2013, the U17 girls national team played in the U17 Airtel Rising Stars African Championship, another strong youth structure and Nigeria and Uganda emerged 4th out of 12 other African countries. The team’s head coach, Hadijah Namuyanja Mourinho won the best female coach accolade as well as Namutosi Agnes and Lilian Akello who were selected among the All-Stars team to represent Uganda at the Arsenal Camp in Rwanda.

Administration;

Three women have undergone high-level football administration training and the entire women football fraternity has benefited.
These are Mrs. Florence B. Nkalubo (former FUFA Executive member in charge of women football), Ms. Kaliga Mariam and Ms. Nambi Loida.

We also now have a FUFA Women Standing Committee in place which implements the women football work-plan annually. It is headed by Ms. Mariam Kaliga an Executive member of FUFA in charge of women football.

There is a full-time employee, Ms. Hadijah Namuyanja who coordinates women’s football affairs nationwide at the FUFA headquarters.

FUFA also operates and channels its activities through structures namely; Uganda Women Football Association headed by Margaret Kubingi Kebba, Regional and District Football Associations, where women representation is a must!

Coaching;

Most retired players have been trained as coaches. Currently, we have 5 qualified women coaches who have attended FIFA, CAF and FUFA coaching courses and have attained among others the CAF C licenses.

All are ex players who have the knowledge, playing experience and expertise in coaching, therefore, they were appointed to handle the technical matters of the different women, national soccer teams.

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