The Federation of Uganda’s Football Association- FUFA has finally zeroed down on South Africa’s Sheryl Botes to take the helm of Uganda’s senior women’s football team- the Crested Cranes. Botes was unveiled by FUFA President Moses Magogo at a brief press conference at the FUFA Complex in Mengo on Wednesday.
She signed a three-year contract with the Federation. Magogo said that since they received 28 applications and only five were Ugandans, but, chose who was fit for the positions and the Federation’s ambitions. Botes brings a wealth of experience to her new role, having previously served as the Head Coach of the SAFA Girls Soccer Academy at the High-Performance Centre (HPC) in Pretoria for 16 years.
Notably, she also has a background as a former coach of the South African women’s team. Botes holds a CAF A license, SAFA Pro, and serves as a CAF Instructor. Her appointment comes nearly eight months since the Federation declared the position vacant and they have since had no permanent coach.
However, throughout that time, FUFA appointed two interim coaches; Ayubu Khalifa and Charles Ayieko who handled different qualifiers in September and November respectively unfortunately none of them was able to help Crested Cranes qualify for the two crucial events.
First, Khalifa was named interim to oversee the Crested Cranes Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which they lost to Algeria before appointing Ayieko to lead the team in its Olympic qualifiers fixture against Cameroon which they also lost.
Asked whether the two Uganda coaches did not impress the appointing authority, Magogo said that none of the two coaches were under evaluation to take the position, adding that their roles were limited to guiding the team through the qualifiers, a task he believed they performed commendably.
Accompanying Botes in her coaching staff are David Didiero as the goalkeeper coach and Ashley Bear as a sports scientist. Magogo added that they will include a few Ugandans in the technical committee, similar to the approach taken with the Uganda Cranes.
On her part, Botes said that she pledged to build a powerful team that will compete with the continent and the world’s heavyweights in women’s football. First, she said that she would embark on identifying talents who fit for the National team where all players will be taken on merit.
On the style of play, Botes said that she fancies a possession-oriented approach, which she believes is visually appealing and aligns with fans’ preferences. She vowed to instill this style in the Crested Cranes, aiming to make them a force to be reckoned with.
Sheryl Botes now stands as the first foreign coach to lead the Crested Cranes but joins a growing list of coaches who have previously held the position, including Magida Nantanda, Faridah Bulega, George Lutalo, Ayub Khalifa Kiyingi, and, most recently, Charles Ayieokh.