In the Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) qualifier, the Crested Cranes faced a strong challenge from Algeria. The match happened at the FUFA Technical Center in Njeru, Uganda, resulting in a 2-1 win for Algeria. Algeria’s Chebel Imane scored the first goal in the 46th minute, followed by Ghouthia Habiba’s goal in the 51st minute.
This win greatly improves Algeria’s chances of qualifying for the tournament, as they secured an impressive victory away from home against Uganda. There will be a return leg of the match played in Algeria. The Crested Cranes managed to score their only goal through a penalty, taken by team captain Fauzia Najjemba in the 87th minute. Algeria’s head coach, Farid Benstiti, credited the victory to the hard work and teamwork displayed by his players.
Benstiti mentioned that challenging weather conditions initially affected their style of play, but his team displayed resilience in the second half and made the most of their opportunities. Sofia Guellati, the team’s captain, recognized the difficulties posed by the pitch but emphasized their determination to adapt to the situation. She expressed confidence that with a better pitch and the support of their fans in Algeria, their performance would improve even more.
The assistant coach of the Crested Cranes, Ayub Khalifa, admitted that defensive setbacks cost them the match. However, he remained optimistic about reorganizing the team before the return leg in Algeria. Khalifa also highlighted their efforts to enhance the team’s striking abilities and their ability to convert chances into goals.
Najjemba acknowledged Algeria’s experience, with their players actively participating in reputable women’s leagues across Europe. She viewed this exposure as a valuable learning opportunity for her team to compete effectively in their upcoming away match. Najjemba also acknowledged that facing Algeria for the first time presented its own set of challenges but believed that with hard work and preparation, they could score more goals when playing in front of their home crowd.