Uganda Cranes coach Jonathan Mckinstry hailed his players following a 2-0 win over Malawi on Sunday in the Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
The Cranes who were returning to the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole for the first time since beating Cape Verde 1-0 to secure a 2017 AFCON berth, couldn’t have done more for the Irishman who was taking charge of his first home game as Cranes coach.
Emmanuel Okwi and Fahad Bayo were the guys McKinstry tasked to look for goals on the day and the pair didn’t disappoint.
Bayo who came as a shock inclusion in the starting lineup in place of Patrick Kaddu had had a silent first half, but when the chance presented itself, the Vipers striker exercised a great deal of calmness to slot the ball past the Malawi Flames goalkeeper Brighton Munthali in a one on one situation.
His goal came in the second half after Okwi had scored Uganda’s first in the 29th minute and Makinstry couldn’t hide his delight.
“Football is about moments and I think in those key moments, we took advantage,” said McKinstry.
“When the chance presented itself and obviously Emmanuel Okwi, an experienced campaigner, he doesn’t need to be given two chances. He took his first.
“And then full credit to Bayo. I know he’s played a little bit before but this is a big atmosphere for him. So one on one with the goalkeeper, that’s a difficult moment for a young man and he stayed calm and he took the chance and I think he had one or two other moments.”
On the team’s general performance, Mckinstry said: “I think the players did okay. The second half was definitely better, but also for both teams the pitch was a bit of a challenge. But both teams had to cope up with it and we did our best and we got our three points which was the most important thing.”
Uganda Cranes are now joint top with Burkina Faso in group B, both with four points. The Stallions beat South Sudan 2-1 on the same day.