Johnathan McKinstry holds the CECAFA 2019 Senior Challenge Cup trophy

Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry strongly believes that Uganda Cranes will defy the odds and qualify to the knock out round of the 2020 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament for the very first time.

Speaking in an exclusive interview conducted by the footballing governing body, FUFA on Tuesday, 18th February 2020, McKinstry is hopeful, Uganda will progress from Group C at the 6th edition of the Chan tournament in Cameroon.

Uganda is pitted with defending champions Cameroon, neighbours Rwanda and West Africans Togo.

Johnathan McKinstry during the interview at FUFA House in Mengo Credit: FUFA

We are our own threat. Uganda has got what it takes to make sure that we perform because we have the best talent around. Right from the team spirit and work ethic, we have it all. We need 10 out of 10 performance not only in matches but everyday in training. We need to work with intensity. We will be in good shape to progress. Anything less than that, any complacency, will be bad news but I do not expect that.

Johnnathan McKinstry, Uganda Cranes Head Coach

Uganda Cranes will open up against rivals Rwanda before facing Togo and will square off with Morocco in the last group match.

Such an arrangement gives McKinstry hope with the target of winning the first game, getting a positive result over debutants Togo before facing Morocco in the last group C game.

A bulk of the players who won the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup will make the provisional squad for Chan

Uganda Cranes has realistic chances of qualifying to the knock out round. The most important game will be against Rwanda. I know a lot about Rwanda. Their current team has players that I gave debuts when I was still Rwanda coach. There is still some old friendship that exists but we shall be rivals for 90 minutes and friends again.


Pan African Group:

McKinstry tags group C at CHAN 2020 as Pan African, with a country from West (Togo), East (Rwanda) and North (Morocco).

This is an interesting group (group C) where Uganda was grouped. It is Pan African with different styles of football. Rwanda is a derby, Togo are debutants and the final check will be against Morocco who have an organized league. We are however confident, we believe it is a group we can qualify from and make history.

He also talked about the Chan tournament, its significance, dynamic nature and why Uganda Cranes need to improve the performance at Chan over the years.

With Chan, there are changes in the competition than AFCON. Successful teams as Morocco have since players graduate to professional ranks. Therefore the teams change and it is difficult to predict. Uganda’s performance at Chan is very disappointing thing for Uganda’s football because the UPL is a very competitive league. We have the talent to deliver at the Chan tournament but we just have to perform.

Johnathan McKinstry smiles during his maiden press conference in Uganda at FUFA House, Kampala on Monday, 30th September 2019

The provisional team of 32 players will be expected to be named in the last week of February 2020 ahead of the first training session on 2nd March.

According to McKinstry, he has organized special training matches that will further be used to fine tune the team before the seniors come in for the AFCON 2021 double header against South Sudan (Home and away).

McKinstry shares ideas with the first assistant coach Abdallah Mubiru

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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