March 3, 2021

McKinstry: Uganda will be hurt by Bayo’s absence at Chan

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The striker was expected to be part of the East Africa nation squad for the biennial competition but his move to Israel makes him ineligible

Uganda head coach Johnathan McKinstry has reaffirmed Fahad Bayo’s importance to his squad, saying the striker will be missed when the East African nation takes part in the African Nations Championship next year.

The 22-year-old recently joined Israeli outfit F.C Ironi Ashdod, meaning he will not be eligible to play in the competition which is meant for players plying their trade in their respective domestic leagues.

The Cranes tactician has now explained the impact the striker’s absence will have on the team.

“We have a big pool of players that can play when given the opportunity,” McKinstry told Urban TV.

“Whereas we shall miss Fahad Bayo, but players like Steven Mukwala now have the chance to blossom.”

Bayo was one of the players who shone for Ugandan Premier League champions Vipers SC in the abandoned 2019/20 season, scoring 12 goals in the 23 matches played.

He started his career at Proline FC whom he joined in 2014 at the tender age of just 16, and went on to score 30 goals for them in the 68 matches played.

Zambian outfit Buildcon FC was his next stop in 2018-2019. He played 39 matches and managed to score six goals before returning home to join the Venoms.

The Cranes were set to bank on his experience in the competition to be held in Cameroon, but his departure to Europe means the technical bench has to look elsewhere for his replacement.

Uganda qualified for the biennial competition after eliminating Somalia and Burundi. The Cranes claimed an aggregate 7-1 win against the former before defeating the latter 6-1 on aggregate to advance.

In the competition to be held in Cameroon in January 2021, the East African nation has been put in Group C alongside defending champions Morocco, neighbours Rwanda and Togo.

This is the fifth time the team is playing in Africa’s second-tier competition.

Group A has hosts Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Zimbabwe, while Group B comprises Libya, DR Congo, Congo, and Niger. Group D has Zambia, Guinea, Namibia, and Tanzania.

The team is aiming at going past the group stage and into the latter stages of the competition. Players will be summoned to camp in December in preparation for the tournament.