A five-star performance from Uganda's under-17 women's side against Tanzania in an East African derby lifts a nation's hopes of making it to the World Cup for the first time.
FIFA U17 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP 2020 QUALIFICATION
Uganda 5 (1) Tanzania 0 (2)
KAMPALA - Uganda's under-17 women's football team made good on their promise to overturn a first leg deficit against Tanzania with a five-star performance in Kampala to progress to the second round.
After an opening half of wasted opportunities for coach Ayub Khalifa's side, the hosts redeemed themselves in the second half by improving their late first half lead with four goals.
Margaret Kunihira broke the Tanzanians' shackles two minutes before the break to produce a relieving effect across Lugogo.
Fauzia Najjemba was wasteful in the opening half but her goal 15 minutes before time was very much welcome. At this point, Uganda were leading 3-2 on aggregate and would go through.
Yet, there was still more for the home fans. Three minutes later, Grace Aluka made it three to put the contest well beyond the visitors.
There was enough time for captain Juliet Nalukenge to get onto the scoresheet. Her two late goals were the icing on the cake as this team became the first Ugandan side to beat Tanzania in women's football.
Next up, Uganda will face the winner of the São Tomé Príncipe v Cameroon game. Cameroon are leading 4-0 from the first leg.
In the second round, the winner between Uganda and São Tomé Príncipe/Cameroon will qualify for the World Cup.
Khalifa relishes 'excellent performance'
Khalifa was in full praise of his girls for following his instructions and also possessing a winning mentality.
He said that in the buildup, he told his players to look at the first leg defeat as the first half of the tie and Saturday's game as the second half that they had to win.
"It has been an excellent performance, especially in the second half. I spoke to them before the game and urged them not to think about our first leg loss," he said.
Khalifa, who doubles as the Kawempe Muslim Women FC coach, vowed to guide the team to the final tournament in India.
"We have to go all the way to the final tourment."
Meanwhile, Khalifa's opposite, Baker Shime, claimed that Uganda fielded two overage players, and said they would petition African football governing body CAF.
He insisted that goalscorer Aluka and Shamim Nalugya do not look under-17-year-olds.
"The performance from my girls was good although I am not satisfied with the age of Nalugya and Aluka. Those two should be investigated, they are not under 17 girls.
"It was not fair, CAF should intervene in this," he said.
Take a look at selected pictures from the game . . .
The hosts had only one thing on their mind
They had to beat the Tanzanians in this tasty East African derby
StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo was packed and the weather was kind
Good sunshine for a good team photo. The hosts wore white and red
The visitors went for a blue and black outfit
In the stands, both sides were well represented
Action got under way under the intensity of the sun
The home crowd wanted to see a goal in their favour
Traffic was two-way in the opening periods
Uganda's women had never beaten their Tanzanian counterparts in any competition
The visitors carried a 2-1 advantage to Kampala
The hosts had the ball in the back of the net in the first half, but the goal was ruled out for an infringement on the Tanzanian keeper
The home side huffed and puffed . . .
. . . but a goal remained elusive
They would eventually draw first blood two minutes before the break
And you can see what it meant to Ayub Khalifa's side . . .
Celebrations to savour
Khalifa's girls returned from the break leading 1-0
At this point, the hosts would be through 2-2 on aggregate, courtesy of the away-goals rule
But such a delicate lead required a cushion of a second goal
Any goal by Tanzania would complicate captain Juliet Nalukenge and co's life at Lugogo
And THAT second goal did come 15 minutes before time. The home fans loved what they were seeing
A third goal was on the way . . .
. . . and so was a fourth . . .
. . . and a fifth
This was an embarrassment of riches for the home side. Five goals to underline a five-star performance!
And at the end of it all, they the victors went on their knees and thanked their fans for the support
A comprehensive production of footballing action
While the hosts walked away flashing their pearly whites . . .
. . . the same could not be said of the Tanzanians
This one was a hard one to absorb. A day to quickly forget for the visitors.
Hard luck, ladies!