McKinstry not about to change approach in selection when international football returns

Although the sporting environment is gradually stabilising with a number of sports activities resuming amidst the coronavirus pandemic, international competitions still wait.

But Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry already has his head up drawing measures on how his boys can return to national team action stronger.

Some of the Cranes players have already resumed action with their respective clubs, whereas others are in advanced preparations with their clubs waiting for their respective leagues to restart say in Egypt and South Africa.

And the Irishman says that the selection of the players that will represent Uganda will depend on how the lads perform at their respective clubs.

“Selection will be down to player performance,” McKinstry told FUFA TV.

“Because we have a wide pool of players playing in the domestic league, in diaspora leagues and those of Ugandan heritage playing elsewhere.”

“The wider the pool of players, the more competition it brings to the team, the more competition, the better the 11 we shall have to produce.”

“If you want to put on the treasured Uganda Cranes shirt, you have to be on top of your game.”

“There is need for continuous assessment of the players, monitoring all of them and they must maintain that high performance,” he added.

With the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations now pushed to 2022, this gives room for the pending AFCON qualifiers to be played later this year spreading into next year, plus the World Cup 2022 qualifiers.

The African football governing body confirmed the above changes during its Executive Committee meeting held in Cairo via a video conference on Tuesday.

“Uganda Cranes players are hungry to get back to AFCON and also to qualify for their first FIFA World Cup. We are all hungry for football to resume because Uganda is a football-loving country.”

“Fine, the supporters have been frustrated with no football action but let us turn this frustration into positive energy. Remember the fans are part of this beautiful journey,” McKinstry noted.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic happened, the Cranes were in fine form in a bid to fulfil their aspiration of making a third consecutive AFCON appearance.

McKinstry’s charges had collected four points from two games and are joint top with Burkina Faso in group B with a doubleheader against South Sudan up next.

It remains to be seen if the locally-based players will be considered since the domestic league has been on suspension since March, and is expected to resume in October around the same time the qualifiers resume.  

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