CHAN 2016: Rwanda exit CHAN 2016, having made it to the Quarter-finals for the first time in their history (30 Jan 2016).
Coach McKinstry and Rwanda have exited CHAN 2016, but become the only Amavubi side so far to make it to the Quarter-Finals of a major international tournament. DR Congo secured the win in extra time, moving 2-1 with only 5 minutes remaining.
Playing at a packed Amahoro Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, DR Congo opening the score at 10 minutes when Doxa Gikanji made a long range strike as other DR Congo and Rwanda players paused momentarily, waiting for an expected freekick.
DR Congo applied pressure in the minutes which followed, but by the half hour the Amavubi had begin to settle into the game and were looking for the equaliser.
Innocent Habyarimana came closest, only inches away, but Ley Matampi made the save to keep DR Congo ahead.
The Amavubi emerged an apparently different team following the half time talk from Coach McKinstry. Instructed to put the agreed game plan into effect, them embarked on looking to exploit DR Congo weaknesses.
Amavubi Striker Ernest Sugira secured the equaliser in the 57th minute as he moved past two defenders and placed a strike right of the keeper.
Sugira almost made it two not long after, but his attempt went just over the goal.
The renewed Rwanda team pressed hard down the wings, driving at the DR Congo defence and securing a number of free kicks, but to no avail.
A 1-1 score line at full time saw the game move into extra time. Extra time saw a number of chances for Rwanda, but as players tired and went down with cramp, DR Congo found the net with only 5 minutes to spare ahead of a potential penalty shoot-out.
Despite the disappointment for the Rwanda team and their fans about the result, supporters remain upbeat in general given recent progress.
Not only is this Amavubi side the first Rwanda team to make it to the knockout stages of a major international tournament, but they do so on the back of finishing runner's up in CECAFA 2015, and are currently sitting in second place in their AFCON 2017 qualification group, all achieved since Coach McKinstry took over in late March 2015.
Interview with Coach McKinstry
Speaking after the Match, Coach McKinstry said:
"We are all very disappointed to exit the tournament at the quarterfinal stage. I think the disappointment is so raw because we came so close; and on a different day one of those chances towards the end of the game would have found the net. The team really have given 100% throughout this tournament."
"The support that we have received has been tremendous - from His Excellency; the Ministry of Sport and a number of Ministers; FERWAFA and of course the fans - who came out in strength today to cheer us on"
"This really is a team on the up and they will only get better because of the experience here at CHAN. In a 10 month period this team have secured Rwanda's first away win in 4 years; reached the final of CECAFA; and in getting the quarter finals of CHAN, have qualified for the knock out stages of a major tournament for the first time in Rwanda's history. We also currently sit in second place of our AFCON 2017 qualification group."
"Looking ahead, we will review everything from this tournament, whilst at the same time begin preparations for our two AFCON qualifiers against Mauritius; which are only 6 weeks away. We are very well placed in our qualifying group; and or target will be to take maximum 6 points from these two games. If we can do that then we will be in a very strong position to push on and qualify for the final of AFCON 2017 in Gabon."
Eric NDAYISHIMIYE (1)
Michel RUSHESHANGOGA (2)
Post-match interview with Coach McKinstry.
VIDEO: Following the CHAN 2016 Quarter-final versus DR Congo, Coach McKinstry shares his thoughts on the match; the ongoing development and success of the Amavubi to date; and key next steps and challenges ahead.
You can click any of the pictures below to see a full screen version of the picture. You can then also choose to click the play arrow to watch a slide show of all images.
Match highlights (3:48 mins) courtesy of CAF TV
See the crowd and atmosphere before Rwanda vs DR Congo (0:33 mins) courtesy of CAF TV
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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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