CECAFA 2015: The Amavubi secure silver medals, having exceeded general expectations to progress to the competition finals (5 Dec 2015).
Rwanda lost out to tournament favourites Uganda in a very tight fought and close match in the final in Addis Ababa on Saturday.
Uganda, the most successful team in the history of CECAFA held on to win their 14th title. Rwanda has won the Cecafa title just once, in 1999, when Rwanda B overcame Kenya 3-1 in Kigali.
Uganda went ahead in the first half with a header from Caesar Okhuti. While the Amavubi looked the better side in the second half, they were unable get the goal, with Jacques Tuyisenge going close only to be saved by the Ugandan goalkeeper. Efforts from Jean-Claude Iranzi and Jean baptiste Mugiraneza also failed to register on the score board.
Despite the loss, the Amavubi's peformance overall has exceeded expectations. Not only did they reach the final, but did so by perhaps the most difficult route of all the teams - their journey to the final seeing them overcome hosts and 3rd place finishers Ethiopia; defeating defending champions Kenya; and beating 4th place finishers and defending runners-up Sudan.
Post Match Interview with Coach McKinstry
Speaking after the game, Coach McKinstry was in reflective mood:
“We are all disappointed that we were not able to finish our great run here at Cecafa with the championship trophy, falling just short to Uganda in today’s final”
“It was a game that was tight from start to finish, and despite having a large amount of possession, especially in the first half we were unable to convert the few chances that we were able to create. As for Uganda, they made good use of a quick free kick that we feel we should have done better with. The eventual goal scorer being left unmarked at the back post”
“That being said our Cecafa Cup 2015 campaign should be looked upon as a good development tool for the team. During the two weeks here in Ethiopia, we have defeated the host nation Ethiopia, who went on to finish 3rd; Sudan, runners up at the last tournament, and 4th this time around; and reigning champions Kenya.”
“We definitely took the difficult route to the final, so we can be somewhat satisfied with the performances that have been shown throughout the tournament”
Coach McKinstry named 'Coach of the Tournament'
The award ceremony at the National Stadium in Addis Ababa not only saw the Amavubi awarded silver medals as CECAFA 2015 tournament runners up, but also saw Coach McKinstry named 'Coach of the Tournament'.
“I would like to thank CECAFA and DSTV for naming me ’Coach of the Tournament’. The award for me reflects the effort put in by all of the players and staff over the two weeks of the tournament, as well as the 9 months we have been working together."
"It is a marker of the development that we are seeing within the group as we continue on our journey to building a strong and successful Amavubi team over the coming months and years,” added McKinstry."
Rwanda will now turn focus to the 2016 Africa Nation’s Championship, which begins in Rwanda in mid January 2016.
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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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