Uganda Cranes coach Jonathan Mckinstry is hopeful and confident ahead of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon.
The Uganda Cranes contingent of 25 players will on Monday depart to Cameroon at 3pm for the Pre-Chan mini tournament scheduled to start on January 1, 2021.
Mckinstry says that the mini tournament will fine tune his players ahead of CHAN due January 16 to February 7.
“We have been in camp for a week now and the players have pushed really hard. It is very clear that everyone is focused and determined, they want their ticket to go to Cameroon and to represent Uganda; you can see that in terms of enthusiasm, Energy, in terms of learning in classroom and the field,” Mckinstry said.
“We came through the week well without injuries, just one or two knocks and nothing serious.”
In the Mini tourney, Uganda will face hosts Cameroon, Niger and Zambia.
The Northern Irishman says that this mini tournament is a good platform for players not only to get match preparation as a team but also the opponents matchup well with some of the group opponents in terms of style they can expect.
He added: “We think its very good, players will get time to acclimatise in Cameroon. We are now looking forward for the journey and get to Cameroon and start playing there.”
In the tournament proper, Uganda are pooled in Group C alongside Morocco, Rwanda and Togo.
Uganda have been at CHAN for the last four editions but have all bundled out at group stage level.
Mckinstry believes that if the players get the right mentality, the Cranes will stage a good run into the tournament.
He explained: “We have said ever since I came in that we need to have that attitude of why not us, especially in the CHAN tourney, you look at nations like Libya, DR Congo who have won the tournament before, even when I took Rwanda in 2016, it was only an extra time goal against DR Congo that eliminated us at Quarter finals, so the difference between the teams are not so great at CHAN, and really for us if we go confident and we perform at our best, we have the potential to go deep in the tournament.
“That is the challenge for the players, why not us? Why cant we be there on the last weekend? Its about being confident, its about being ambitious and its about putting the work ethic to make sure that that we are still there come February 7th.”