Uganda Cranes will be ready for Chan and Afcon – McKinstry

Uganda Cranes coach Jonathan McKinstry is confident his charges will be competitive in both Chan and Afcon scheduled for 2021.

Chan was initially planned for April 4-20 before Covid-19 outbreak forced Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) to postpone it. 

“The confirmation by Caf of the Chan Tournament for January 2021 is a relief to the players,” McKinstry told Fufa website.

“The players were more concerned and worried that this tournament could be called off because if you looked at the schedule, it was a challenge to see where it could be fixed. Now the tournament is only six months away. This is really close.  

“Everyone is refocused, re-energized and hungry to go. The Uganda Premier League kicks off in October 2020 and the players are really ready. We, as the technical team, are also looking forward and putting together some plans.

“Hopefully, Cecafa 2020 will be happening and this will help in the preparations. The players and staff are now motivated with more energy.”
The 34-year-old has also revealed how he has managed to ensure his players remain fit.

“The players have been given a special pre-season training schedule. The programs have been sent to them, quite different from the ones in the Covid-19 period because anytime we expected football to return soon.  

“We hope to have six weeks of competitive football before the training camp will be summoned for the Chan finals.

“It has been really challenging but as a coach, there has been hope and planning never stops. Everyone was frustrated with no football but it is two-sided; the supporter, player, or coach. 

“Everyone was frustrated that football was not happening. I am a little bit jealous that my colleagues in Europe are involved in what they love to do best but hopefully, this frustration will be converted to energy when football returns.” 

The Northern Irish believes his players are hungry for success in international assignments and giving the majority a chance to prove their worth will increase competition in the squad.

“The Uganda Cranes players are hungry to get back to Afcon and play at the Fifa World Cup. We are all hungry for football to resume. Selection will purely be down to it will be down to player performance.

“There is a wide pool of players to think about and select; these are players in the domestic league, in the diaspora league, and those of Ugandan heritage playing elsewhere. If u want to put on the treasured Uganda Cranes shirt, you have to be on top of your game. 

“There is a need for continuous assessment of the players, monitoring all and they must maintain that high performance. The wider the pool of players, the more competition it brings to the team, the more competition, the better the 11 we shall have to produce. 

“Uganda is a football-loving country. Fine, the supporters have been frustrated with no football action but let us turn this frustration into positive energy. Remember the fans are part of this beautiful journey.”