Ugandan coach Sam Timbe has explained how their national women’s team missed a chance to be Women's Africa Cup of Nations giants like Nigeria.
Timbe, currently handling the Premier League side Uganda Revenue Authority FC, was in charge of the women’s team when they made their maiden appearance in Wafcon in 2000 when the tournament was held in South Africa.
"Playing on the continent for the first time was a good experience because we went there without any experience from the past, but we returned home with experience," Timbe told Football256.
"We needed constant exposure and by now I think we would have turned into an African powerhouse like Nigeria.
"But due to several challenges, some of which were financial, we were affected in one way or another.
"The demands of the players were not being met by the federation [the Football Associations of Uganda] and any time the players would express themselves regarding the same matter, they were always taken to be misbehaving.
"So, the team was overlooked, even when we played in the next qualifiers against Ethiopia, the players did not put up a good show because of the way they were treated after the Wafcon in South Africa.
"Previously Fufa had abandoned women’s football that is how the team collapsed because the federation pulled out of everything."
Nigeria’s Super Falcons – who are also participants in the 2022 competition – are record nine-time African champions.
The Crested Cranes will be participating in the continental showpiece for the second time after they qualified for this year’s tournament.
They booked a place for the finals to be held in Morocco when Kenya withdrew from the last qualifier when they were expected to square off with their neighbours.
"But I am grateful that the current federation picked up the idea of women’s football again and we are back on the continent," added the former Tusker head coach.
"I have a lot of faith in George Lutalo [current Crested Cranes’ head coach] and his team, but my only worry is that we have lacked constant participation.
"I hope they can go ahead and make history and do what their counterparts failed to do."
Although they did not go past the group stage in their maiden campaign then, Timbe says they were proud of how they performed.
"The fact that it was our first time, winning a game on such a big stage will never go off my mind," the tactician concluded.
"I believe we did ourselves and the entire country proudly even though we did not qualify for the next round. We missed that opportunity by just a goal difference.
"But the girls did tremendously well, and I think with a good agency, some would have gone professional, the likes of Majidah Nantanda."
For the 2022 finals, the East African giants are in Group A, which also has Morocco, Burkina Faso, and Senegal. They will begin the campaign against Senegal on July 3.