Chan 2021: Uganda’s McKinstry clings onto quarter-final ambition despite Togo loss

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Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry.
The Cranes went down 2-1 against the Sparrowhawks and a win on Tuesday will keep their hopes alive for a place in the knockout stage

Uganda head coach Johnathan McKinstry is hopeful they will get the result against Morocco in the final game of Group C's African Nations Championship competition and reach the quarterfinals.

The Cranes find themselves in a difficult position after going down 2-1 against Togo. An own goal from Paul Mbowa and a Yendoutie Nane curled strike gave the debuting Togo the vital victory while Uganda's goal was scored by Saidi Kyeyune.

"If we can produce the display especially that we had in the second half [vs Togo], which had a little bit more quality, we can get the result against Morocco," McKinstry told Goal

"And if that happens we will be in the quarterfinal. So, people are disappointed now and everyone is after a loss, but we need to get our heads up. We know we have got the quality that is going to cause Morocco problems.”

The Cecafa champions have never progressed into the quarterfinal of the tournament and McKinstry's ambition - which he has stated time without number - was to break the jinx.

Despite the loss, the former Rwanda coach is hopeful the target is still achievable.

"As a nation, our target is to go deep into the tournament. I think we have three players who were in the tournament two years ago and the current one is a completely new team," he concluded.

"Our target from the beginning of the tournament was to go deep and the target at this exact moment remains to go deep into the tournament."

Meanwhile, Togo's assistant coach Franck Dote hailed his players after they fought for a first win in the competition.

“A historic and satisfying victory for our young players. We pocketed the three points with the manner, extraordinary goals, and spectacular football," he told Caf Online.

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"I thank the group for being able to react. The result shows us that we could have a positive result against Morocco. Now the appetite comes with eating, we must not stop at such a good point. 

"It would be a group final against Rwanda. We have to play with our values ​​to win again and get a thrilling qualification."

The next games for the group will be played on Tuesday with Rwanda and Togo facing off in an early kick-off before a decisive clash between the Atlas Lions and the Cranes.