Championship of African Nations 2020
Morocco vs Togo (5pm Local Time, 7pm EAT)
Rwanda vs Uganda (8pm Local Time, 10pm EAT)
Stade Reunification- Douala, Cameroon
Uganda will start it’s journey at the 2020 Championship of African Nations on Monday(today) against neighbours and bitter rivals Rwanda.
The two East African Nations will face off at Stade Reunification in Douala in a group C fixture with defending Champions Morocco coming early in the day against Togo.
This is an encounter that evokes emotions and so many scores to settle, first with Uganda Cranes coach Johnathan Mckinstry facing his former employers.
The Irishman was head coach of the Amavubi Stars before joining the former.
The youthful tactician is however unfazed about meeting Rwanda and wants to make a perfect start to the tournament.
‘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’ said Uganda Cranes Head coach Johnathan McKinstry as quoted by the FUFA website.
During his reign in Rwanda, Mckinstry guided the Amavubi Stars to a quarterfinal finish in 2016, a tournament that was hosted by 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.’
The uphill task and realistic target for Mckinstry and Uganda is to advance past the group stage, a mark that the Cranes have failed on all the last four attempts.
‘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’ Mckinstry stated.
‘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’ said McKinstry.
Skipper Halid Lwaliwa is optimistic that the team can get off to a good start and use this tournament as a stepping stone in their careers.
‘I am glad to be here. I am also happy that the team qualified for the CHAN Finals. It has always been a dream for me and the players on the team play in this tournament. I think we can make it from the group stages. I have not watched any matches of Rwanda in action but we know their players from the U20, U23 and other National teams as we have been able to face off in the past against them. This team has been together for long. We believe we can go all the way’
Defending Champions Morocco will face Togo in the first game of the day.
Uganda Cranes Probable Starting XI
Charles Lukwago, Paul Willa, Aziz Kayondo, Dennis Iguma, Halid Lwaliwa, Shafik Kagimu, Said Kyeyune, Karim Watambala, Brian Aheebwa, Milton Karisa, Joackim Ojera