Jonathan McKinstry, Uganda Cranes head coach says they didn’t take part in the pre-CHAN mini tournament for results but rather to prepare for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) final event that kicks off in a fortnight.
These words came in the aftermath of Uganda Cranes’ 1-1 draw with hosts Cameroon on Friday evening as the mini tournament kicked off at At Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.
“We said coming into this tournament was not about results. It was about taking on the host Nation and other top opposition. We wanted to come here and prepare for the main tournament. We encouraged our players to be confident even when we lost one of them. We created chances even with a man less but the equalizer was well deserved,” McKinstry noted.
The Cranes finished the game with one man down following an early send off for striker Ben Ocen who elbowed his opponent after 12 minutes. The Northern Irishman, however, was not satisfied with the red card.
“I have to watch it again on video but I honestly don’t think it was a red card, I just don’t know but it amazed me. When most teams have that situation, they get men behind the ball and play direct football. But for us, we encouraged our players to continue playing and be confident,” McKinstry added.
“For large portions of the game, I thought we were the team creating chances from open play and we couldn’t be more pleased with the players,” he concluded.
Captain Banga Bienvenue put Cameroon in the halftime lead before Milton Karisa cancelled out his goal after 70th minutes as both sides shared spoils under the floodlights.
Uganda Cranes will play their next game in the Pre-CHAN tournament against Zambia on Monday 4th January before their final game against Niger on Thursday.
The Cranes were pitted in Group C of the CHAN tournament against defending champions Morocco, Togo and Rwanda. The event will start on 16th January to 7th February 2021 in Cameroon.