McKinstry hails Cranes character as domestic players look to impress

Tuesday October 15 2019

Out to win. Emmanuel Okwi scored the lone goal

Out to win. Emmanuel Okwi scored the lone goal from a Joseph Ochaya cross that the Cranes held onto for more than 70 minutes against the hosts. Photo by Eddie Chicco 

By ELVIS SENONO

KAMPALA. Cranes coach Johnny McKinstry was left impressed by the character shown by his charges after delivering an away win over Ethiopia that handed him a debut win.

Emmanuel Okwi scored the lone goal from a Joseph Ochaya cross that the Cranes held onto for more than 70 minutes against the hosts.

“The players showed good resilience and good robustness and got the result at the end. It wasn’t pretty football but again away from home you’re not looking for beautiful football all the time.
Sometimes you just have to dig in and when you get the lead you hold it and that is what they did well today,” McKinstry said after the game.

A clean sheet was another positive for the Northern Irishman especially after being deprived of the services by Morocco-based defender Murushid Jjuuko reportedly because of work permit issues.

Barring any late changes, the game was the last for the senior Cranes team ahead of the opening 2021 Afcon Qualifiers that start next month with an away fixture against Burkina Faso.

Back at home domestic league players also have a chance to impress ahead of that qualifier when they play Burundi in the return leg of the final qualification round at Lugogo this Saturday.

Advertisement

Among those is KCCA forward Mike Mutyaba who hailed the influence of coach Abdalla Mubiru who will be in charge of Saturday’s game.

“As a player I always give 100 per cent. The good thing is we have a good coach. He’s played the game and knows what is required in what situations. And during the sessions he gives us exactly what we need to do to remain focused for the game on Saturday,” Mutyaba noted.

Mutyaba returned to the Cranes fold after a six-year hiatus with an assist in the 3-0 first leg victory and finally got off the mark in the league with a hattrick over Onduparaka over the weekend.

The team preparing for the Chan Qualifier includes two new faces in Vipers youngster Karim Watambala and Mbarara forward Ibrahim Orit.

Only Wakiso Giants midfielder Kirizestom Ntambi missed yesterday’s session having traveled with the senior squad for Sunday’s friendly against Ethiopia.

Advertisement