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McKinstry: Uganda tactician happy players returning to training

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The 34-year-old states Covid-19 was a blessing in disguise for players who were nursing injuries

Uganda head coach Johnathan McKinstry is hopeful more players will be getting playtime with the return of football.

Action was suspended several months ago owing to the Covid-19 outbreak, but normalcy is slowly returning. It is a theme of joy for the tactician, who has been using other means to follow-up on what the Cranes players have been doing in isolation.

“We have an online platform for all the players [that] are actively working…it can be a case of phone calls and WhatsApp,” McKinstry explained.

“Also, we are getting into a situation when football is returning. For example, Luwagga Kizito [who plays for Hapoel Kfar Saba] and Timothy Denis Awany [of F.C. Ashdod] played in Israel last weekend as well as Robert Kakeeto [at AaB] who played the full 90 minutes in the Danish top-flight division. 

“We are starting to have our players get back to the field of play. In the coming weeks, we are getting more and more players coming into action.”

The 34-year-old has also revealed the coronavirus pandemic came as a blessing in disguise to some players.

“All these players are doing well. With the forced break in football, nobody welcomed it. But it has been a period for most players to fully recover from their ailments,” McKinstry added.

“In March, for instance, Farouk Miya was injured but he is now doing well and will be ready to play when the Turkish league resumes. Kizito Luwaga in Israel is back and played 65 minutes last Saturday for his club Hapoel Kfar Saba. 

“The biggest challenge now is getting match fitness. When you have not played for so long, it is tiring and physically demanding. That is where they need to improve but it is the same situation for all footballers everywhere in the world.”  

The pandemic saw the Northern Irish coach suspend his training camp for the African Nations Championship (Chan) when the planned tournament was postponed due to the ongoing measures against the outbreak.

McKinstry was also to lead the Cranes in an African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign but again, it was cancelled, and he now says the pandemic has put everyone’s plans in a difficult position.

“Obviously, everyone is waiting for guidance from Fifa and Caf in terms of how we are going to proceed. We have international windows in September, October and November and hopefully the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in January 2021,” he concluded.

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