The head coach of the Cranes of Uganda Johnathan McKinstry, has admitted that his sides nervousness, frustrated their game against Rwanda.
Uganda’s cranes and the Amavubi Stars of Rwanda played a zero all tie at the Reunification Stadium, in a purely East African derby, in group C of the African Nations championship.
McKinstry’s side failed to replicate their pre_CHAN form, as Rwanda looked the better side throughout the game. Tuyisenge Jacques and Hakizimana Muhadjiri caused Uganda Cranes all sorts of problems and moving away with a point, is something McKinstry can build on.
“The first half was really frustrating for players and staff alike. One of the things we told them at half time is that they have to play football. They have to pass the ball. I felt that maybe it was because of a bit of nervousness, you know it was the first time for a lot of players at this level. CHAN is a step up in terms of pressure, so I feel some of the players felt that pressure and they were not willing to play those punchy passes especially into our attacking Midfielders. We didn’t really get the likes of Karim (Watambala) on the ball often. So really we let ourselves down in the first half because the players resorted to playing too many long balls and this really isn’t what we wanted. At half time we were able to address that, we made a few tweaks and in the second half we moved the ball up better”, McKinstry said post match.
The Northern Irishman was facing a Rwandan side that he coached in 2016, when the Amavubi Stars made it to the quarter finals on home soil. He however feels the cranes needed more confidence.
“It is just the case of removing the fear from the players, because we know if they passed the ball, we know that if they moved it and they play up one or two touch football and get it to our Midfielders and the feet of our forwards, we could be very efficient. But we didn’t do that today and we need to make sure that the next two games we will play that passing, Moving round the football, that can bring us success”.
An early injury to star man Karisa Milton, limited options for McKinstry up front, despite him bringing on KCCA FC’s Brian Aheebwa. Cranes captain Halid Lwaliwa missed the game with a slight injury but is expected back before the next game.
The Cranes returns to action on January 22, against debutants Togo. McKinstry is full aware of the stakes of their next game.
“We got a big game in three days time against Togo, it is a big game for them as well because haven lost to Morocco, they will be hungry to pick a point. So we have to put the players back together and make sure we have many people back to full fitness as possible. Our doctors will have to assess Milton Karisa”.
Morocco currently tops group C with three points, coutsey of their 1#0 win over Togo. Round two games will see Morocco going head to head against Rwanda, as Uganda entertains Jean Paul Abalo’s Togo.