Uganda go top of AFCON Qualification Group B with a win over Malawi, and a draw with top seed Burkina Faso (19 Nov 2019).
At the end of the opening week of qualifiers, Uganda sit at the top of Group B, ahead of Burkina Faso on goal difference.
The results from their two fixtures in November have allowed Uganda, and recently appointed Coach McKinstry, to secure 4 points. The away draw against Burkina Faso, and a 2-0 home win against Malawi have propelled Uganda to the top of Group B of the AFCON 2021 qualifiers.
Burkina Faso (Away, 13 Nov 2019 )
Uganda opened their AFCON 2021 Qualification campaign with a well-earned away point to Burkina Faso on 13 November 2019. Drawn as 1st seeds in Group B, Burkina Faso had won their previous six Home AFCON qualifiers, and not since 2007 had they suffered a defeat at home in an AFCON qualification game.
For Uganda, who had also lost 1-0 on their last visit to face Burkina in Ouagadougou in 2016, the task was substantial, not least as Coach McKinstry and the squad had only 2 days to prepare for this opening game of the 2021 qualification campaign.
Having withstood an early barrage from the home team that included Uganda full-back Joseph Ochaya being required to clear a goal-bound shot off the line; the Ugandan team settled into the match in front of a largely partisan crowd.
Delivering disciplined and organised performance, Uganda applied pressure and came close to taking all three points with Emmanuel Okwi's second half header, the forward unfortunately seeing his effort canon back off the crossbar.
With the final whistle, Uganda had exceeded expectations and secured a coveted away win to get off to a positive campaign start in pursuit of what could be their third consecutive AFCON qualification.
Malawi (Home, 17 Nov 2019)
A flight back to Uganda and a quick turnaround of only 4 days then saw Uganda take the field in Kampala for the visit of then group leaders Malawi, who had started their own campaign with a 1-0 win over South Sudan.
In front of their home crowd, Uganda took control of the game from the kick-off creating several chances that resulted in a confident 2-0 win with goals from Emmanuel Okwi and Fahad Bayo. It could have been even more, but Farouk Miya was unfortunate to see his winding run end with his shot coming back off the inside of the post; whilst the Malawi goalkeeper also made several smart saves to ensure the score remained at 2-0.
Uganda off to a positive start
Reflecting on the opening 2 rounds of fixtures, Head Coach Johnathan McKinstry commented:
"To take 4 points from our opening games is very positive and puts us in a good position to work towards qualification for the finals in Cameroon in 2021."
"Having only a little time to prepare with the players for these games, it was important that we kept things simple and looked to play an effective forward thinking style of play, whilst also ensuring that we did not give our opponents the opportunity to surprise us."
"Over the two games we feel that we did very well in this regard" We have had a positive week in camp and I feel it gives us a very good platform to build upon going forward."
Next AFCON Q 2021 Qualification Games
South Sudan (H), South Sudan (A). 23-31 March 2020.
Notes to Editors
- AFCON 2021: Uganda top qualification group after opening week (November 2019)
- Since being appointed on 01 Oct 2019, Coach McKinstry has now secured 3 wins and one draw from 4 games.
- These include: Malawi, 2-0 (AFCON qualifier- Nov 19); Burkina Faso, 1-1 (AFCON qualifier- Nov 19); Burundi, 3-0 (CHAN qualifier – Oct 19), Ethiopia, 1-0 (International Friendly – Oct 19)