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Nalukenge, Najjemba assassinate South Africa as Uganda conquer COSAFA



The Uganda U-17 girls team went down in history as the first team ever to win the COSAFA U-17 tournament after defeating South Africa 2-1 in the inaugural final played at the Francois Xavier stadium in Port Louis, Mauritius on Sunday.

It was the team’s attacking duo of Juliet Nalukenge and Fauzia Najjemba that scored Uganda’s goals with the former scoring the winner in the final four minutes of the game.

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In a closely contested game, South Africa led by their silky skipper Jessica Wade dominated affairs in the first 20 minutes but Uganda gradually gained momentum and confidence in the subsequent minutes.

Nyinagahirwa and South Africa’s Jessica Wade 

It would have been a different scoreline at halftime and not 0-0 had it not been the South African goalkeeper Karabo Mohale who reflexed thrice to deny Ayub Khalifa’s charges.

Mohale saved two Nalukenge goal bound efforts as well as Najjemba’s low shot while Margret Kunihira had her strike come off the cross bar towards the stroke of halftime.

Three minutes into the second half, Nalukenge tried her luck once again but Mohale stood tall to deny the Ugandan skipper.

Finally, the reliable Mohale was beaten by Najjemba in the 57th minute. Najjemba was fed by Nalukenge before exquisitely slotting the ball beyond the keeper’s reach.

At 1-0, Samalie Nakachwa was withdrawn for Catherine Nagadya in the 63rd minute.

The Batwana Batwana levelled scores through substitute Tiffany Kortjie in the 74th minute.

It seemed the game was destined for a 1-1 draw at full-time but Nalukenge and Najjemba had a different idea.

Nalukenge won it for Uganda with a clean finish from a Najjemba low cross that came in the 86th minute.

The full-time whistle meant that Uganda became the second guest team ever to win a COSAFA tournament after Tanzania who beat Zambia in the U-20 Women’s Championship.

Nalukenge walked away with the player of the match accolade as well as the tournament’s golden boot with a total of 18 goals scored in five outings.

Uganda’s goalkeeper Daphine Nyayenga won the golden glove after conceding only two goals and keeping three clean sheets in the process.

South Africa’s Wade was named player of the tournament.

Zambia’s junior Shepolopolo came third after defeating Botswana 3-0 in the third place play off.

Uganda XI;

Daphine Nyayenga (GK), Gillian Akadinda, Patricia Akiror, Stella Musubika, Bira Nadunga, Kevin Nakachwa (Mouren Nangozi), Shakira Nyinagahirwa, Samalie Nakachwa (Catherine Nagadya), Fauzia Najjemba, Juliet Nalukenge, Margret Kunihira

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