Cranes head coach Jonathan Mckinstry has said he still has an emotional attachment with Rwanda ahead of Uganda’s group C meeting with his former side Rwanda in the 2021 Chan Tournament hosted by Cameroon.
Uganda who are currently managed by Irishman Jonathan McKinstry will face his former side and regional rivals Rwanda in their opening game of the tournament at the Stade de la Réunification on Monday 18th, January 2020.
In the pre-match press conference held in Douala where Uganda will be playing all their group games, Cranes coach McKinstry said every game is important at the tournament and also took a moment to express how emotionally attached he is to his former employers;
“Every game is important. Every game is massive. If we play to our maximum level, we shall get the results we want. The CHAN tournament is where things can change very quickly. We believe we have players who can cause problems to our opponents in the group. First, let us get 3 points and continue planning for other matches,” McKinstry said before adding that he has an emotional attachment to Rwanda.
“I have an emotional attachment with Rwanda. I was head coach of Rwanda in 2016. We have one objective-when we play Rwanda-winning will be on our mind. The historical relationship will be put aside. If it is not playing against Uganda, I have always wanted Rwanda to do well. It is a big East African derby,”
This will be the first time McKinstry will be playing against Rwanda since leaving the job about 3 years ago. During his period as coach of Amavubi Stars, he enjoyed great success in 2016 when he led hosts Rwanda to the Quarterfinals of CHAN.
He says he wants Uganda to be where they have not been before and that is making it through the group stages of the competition.
“It is widely known that Uganda hasn’t been able to get out of the group stages of CHAN. To me, it is an anomaly with the kind of quality players Uganda produces. We want to be here till the final weekend of CHAN.”
‘We feel we know their strengths. However, we are making sure we cover up for that in our training sessions. It is really not about doing anything new but focusing on one or two specific areas of our style of play that will bring maximum benefit to the entire team for good results.”
“It is a big derby to start the tournament against Rwanda. Both countries are rivals. It is important for the players to know it is not about three points in the tournament but local bragging rights. Eighteen of the players played for me a couple of years ago. It is an experienced squad and hopefully, my knowledge of the squad can get the results everyone at home and here are looking for.”
“We believe the preparations done by the team have mirrored in what we had initially planned even before the camp was cancelled in March. We have achieved a 90-95% success with our preparations.
We are continuing to climb the mountain we have set for ourselves as we know if we reach the top of it, we can be successful.”
Jonathan McKinstry guided Uganda to their 15th CECAFA Challenge Cup title last year in Kampala and the first trophy of his coaching career. However, he had earlier guided Rwanda to the finals in 2015.
Can McKinstry help Uganda past the group stages of the Chan competition for the very first time?
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