Coach McKinstry & Rwanda have secured their place in the final stages of CECAFA with a 3-0 victory over Somalia. (27 November 2015).
Rwanda have moved on to the quarter-final round of the Cecafa Challenge Cup with a 3-0 win over Somalia in their final Group A match, played at the Awassa International Stadium in Ethiopia today (Friday 27 November).
In the opening game of the tournament on Saturday, Rwanda defeated hosts Ethiopia 1-0 in front of their home crowd at the national stadium in capital Addis-Ababa. Rwanda secured the victory when right-winger Jacques Tuyisenge placed a free kick past the Ethiopian goalkeeper in the 55th minute.
Looking back on the game, Coach McKinstry spoke of a solid result in the show-piece tournament opener against Ethiopia and their home crowd:
"The opening match of any tournament is always a very difficult game - against the home nation in front of their home support. Our players were very well organised and we had to deal with some pressure especially towards the end of the game, but overall we deserved the 3 points."
"We scored a good free kick from Jacques Tuyisenge and also hit the cross bar in the game - it was a very hard fought game and our 1-0 win over the host nation was a good start to the tournament."
Rwanda then faced Tanzania mid-week, but were unfortunate to lose 2-1. Tanzania converted a questionable free-kick in the first half, while in the second half a widely questioned refereeing decision meant that Tanzania were very fortunate not to have a penalty awarded against them in the 60th minute, when Jacque Tuyisenge was clearly brought down in the area.
The Amavubi however maintained their composure and subjected the Tanzania defence to considerable pressure, allowing Jacques Tuyisenge to score his second goal of the tournament.
Reflecting on that game, Coach McKinstry expressed his frustration at the result:
"We created some good chances, but ultimately the game hinged on some key moments - a free kick that even when watched back on the TV doesn't appear to come from any contact. Then a penalty is not awarded to us that again from the TV is a clear penalty and should have been given. That could have changed the game, but it wasnt given and unfortunately it was a 2-1 defeat for us."
"That is very frustrating. A close game where we have had chances to score. However, we haven’t let our heads drop and have made an impact towards the end. It would have been easy for the players to let their heads drop, especially when they weren't getting decisions that they felt should have gone their way. Credit to the players that they kept fighting and got a goal back."
In their final group A game today, the Amavubi cruised to a 3-0 victory against Somalia, opening their tally with a goal from debutant Yussufu Habimana in the 6th minute. Jacques Tuyisenge continued his form in the 52nd minutes, securing his third goal in three matches.
After the match, Coach McKinstry summed up his thoughts:
"Somalia are a team that fight for every ball, we knew that. They will sit 11 players behind the half-way line for large parts of the game and then try to play on the counter-attack."
"Somalia are not easy to break down in open play. Ethiopia only managed to score against them from set pieces, and Tanzania needed a penalty and a free kick to secure two of their goals against Somalia. Today however, we have won 3-0 and scored all goals from open play... none from set pieces, so that is very pleasing"
"We made 9 changes to the starting line-up today to rest a lot of those who would be considered our more established players. That wasn't a lack of respect for Somalia, it was us taking steps to ensure that across the squad as a whole, our fitness levels and energy remain as high as possible."
"I gave 3 debuts today and they have all gone in and performed really well - Yussufu Habimana scored the opening goal 6 minutes into his international debut, while Dominique Savio Nshuti who is relatively new set up 2 of the goals."
"We have given a number of players time on the pitch this week, and so competition for places on the team for the Quarter-finals will now be intense. The goals scored this week will build confidence. All players will have good energy levels come the Quarter-final and will be ready to hopefully push us forward, further into the tournament."
About Coach McKinstry
Johnny McKinstry is a UEFA Pro Licensed Football Coach. He was International Manager and Head Coach of the Rwanda National Football Team from March 2015 - August 2016. Within just 17 months he led Rwanda to a number of highs - including their first ever appearance in the knockout stages of a major international tournament (Quarter-finals of CHAN, Jan 2016) and finished runner-up in CECAFA (Dec 2105), being named 'Coach of the Tournament' for his efforts.
He was Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team from April 2013 - September 2014. Within just over a year, he had led Sierra Leone to their highest ever FIFA World and African rankings - 7th in Africa and 50th in the World (August 2014). From Jan 2010 - Dec 2014 he set up and developed the Craig Bellamy Elite Soccer Academy in Sierra Leone - placing elite young players in Europe, Asia and North America. He is a European (UEFA), American (NSCAA) and university qualified football coach.
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