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Cranes: McKinstry pleased with first step in new Cranes journey

Uganda Cranes team that started the game against Ethiopia at the Bahir Dar stadium, Ethiopia

Uganda national team new head coach Jonathan McKinstry took charge of his first game with the Cranes, in an international friendly against Ethiopia at the Bahir Dar stadium, Ethiopia on Sunday.

And it was an interesting start to life at his new job but not as flambouyant as many had anticipated, as the Cranes managed to grind out a 1-0 win over the Ethiopians.  

Emmanuel Okwi’s header from left back Joseph Ochaya’s pitch perfect cross in the 20th minute, was enough to seal victory for the Cranes, in a game that provided very little goal mouth action from either teams.

The result may not be so much to focus about, given that the coach only had two days to work together before the game, but it is how quickly the team seemed to be in grasp of McKinstry’s methods though not perfectly, but it is a promising start.

Las week, the Irishman promised a style reminiscent of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, and against Ethiopia there were glimpses of that style as the Cranes focused on quick transitions, utilizing the pace of Abdul Lumala and Kizito Luwagga.

McKinstry was delighted and pleased with the result and was quick to thank whoever was part of his maiden win as the Uganda Cranes new head coach.

“Very pleased with the players, staff and officials to secure a 1-0 win over Ethiopia to kick start the next phase of development of the Uganda Cranes,” McKinstry posted on his Twitter account.

“It’s only the beginning, but together we’ve taken the first step of the journey.” He added.

Cranes’ next task is to try and seal qualification for the 2020 CHAN final tournament, with a second leg tie against Burundi on Saturday 19th, October.

However, Mckinstry will not be in charge of that one as he decided to allow the technical team that have handled the qualification process to this point complete what they started, but he will be around to observe closely.

The Cranes are only 90 minutes away from sealing qualification, as they carry 3-0 advantage after the first leg in Bujumbura.

McKinstry will face his first real challenge during the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifier away to Burkina Faso on 11th November, with his home debut coming a week later on 19th November against Malawi.

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Uganda Cranes team against Ethiopia

Starting XI: Denis Onyango (GK) (C), Ronald Brian Ddungu Mukiibi, Joseph Benson Ochaya, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Bevis Mugabi, Kristoper Kizito, Tadeo Lwanga, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, Allan Kyambadde, Abdu Lumala, Henry Patrick Kaddu, William Kizito Luwagga.

Substitutes: Robert Odongkara, Timothy Denis Awany, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Isaac Muleme, Kirizestom Ntambi, Milton Karisa, Moses Opondo, Derrick Paul Nsibambi, Allan Kayiwa

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