Saturday Aug 22, 2020. 15:00
Uganda national team coach Jonathan McKinstry says he is looking forward to a busy schedule of games up to the end of 2021, emphasising that this will help to build continuity and team spirit.
The Cranes, like many African teams, are set for a crammed schedule up to early 2022, with the coronavirus pandemic necessitating the reshuffling of tournaments and qualifying fixtures.
Uganda will return to action in November with two 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, but that will soon be joined by commitments in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals, World Cup qualifiers and then the AFCON itself (set for January 2022).
“Originally, the plan was to have the final tournament in Cameroon for the finals tournament in January 2021. We now know it was pushed ahead to 2022. We have to be very patient,” McKinstry told FUFA’s official website, adding that the make-up of the squad he chooses for November will be very different compared to what was first planned.
“Concerning the match days three and four preparations of the AFCON 2021 [qualifiers] that will be in November 2020. We already had preparations but there will be a complete review. We shall go back to review because the squad we named in March is not the same squad we shall name in November.
“For example, in March, Farouk Miya was injured and not considered. But now, he is well and fit. For Abdul Lumala, in March, he had come back and was playing well for Pyramids but he is now recovering and will be reviewed.”
The Cranes coach is also looking forward to having plenty of time to work with his players from November this year right up to the AFCON finals in 2022.
“First and foremost, from the coach’s perspective, I think everyone appreciates that one of the frustrations of international football coaching is that you [don’t] a lot of contact time with your players, of your club environment.
“You are there every day, every week [for a club situation]. Whereas at the international environment, it is periodic. 2021 will be a very busy period with the CHAN finals, AFCON qualifiers, FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the CECAFA.
“It will be good for us. The more the players are together, the better for us to plan. We shall advance our playing time even further because we shall have a lot of time with the players. The players are hungry to be back in action.”