July 29, 2021

Chan 2021: Uganda aim to beat Rwanda despite emotional attachment – McKinstry

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The Cranes coach believe more than just three points are at stake when they face their local rivals in their opener

Uganda head coach Johnathan McKinstry has stated he still has some emotional attachment to Rwanda ahead of their African Nations Championship encounter on Tuesday.

The Cranes will be up against their Cecafa rivals in Group C’s opener and McKinstry has said their main aim will only be winning the tie despite his attachment to Amavubi.

“I have an emotional attachment with Rwanda,” the tactician told Fufa’s website.

“I was head coach of Rwanda in 2016. We have one objective when we play Rwanda; winning will be on our minds.

“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.”

Tasked to lead Uganda into the knockout stage, McKinstry believes it is surprising that the country has never been there despite the talent it has.

“It is widely known that Uganda haven’t been able to get out of the group stages of Chan,” he added.

“To me, it is an anomaly with the kind of quality players Uganda produce. 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.”

The Northern Irish tactician also elaborated on how the Uganda-Rwanda clash will not be about three points alone, but one that carries local bragging rights as well.

“It is a big derby to start the tournament against Rwanda. Both countries are rivals,” he added.  

“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.”

McKinstry is satisfied with the preparations they have had so far and hopes it will help them achieve their Chan targets.

“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 90-95% success with our preparations,” the former Sierra Leone coach added.

“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.”

The Group C first games will all be played on Tuesday with Morocco facing Togo in the other game.