'The future is yours, write more chapters' - Uganda coach McKinstry to Hippos

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Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry.
The 35-year-old is delighted with what the East Africans achieved in Mauritania and has asked them to continue giving their best in future

Uganda coach Johnathan McKinstry has challenged the Hippos to continue writing more chapters after gracing the U20 Africa Cup of Nations where they lost 2-0 to Ghana in the final.

A brace from Daniel Afriyie was what the Black Satellites needed to defeat their opponents at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott on Saturday night. However, the East Africans had every reason to celebrate owing to the way they played in the biennial competition.

The supporters were also impressed including the Northern Irish coach who did not hesitate to express his feelings publicly. 

"Congrats to the players, staff, and officials of the Hippos for your historic run at U20 Afcon," McKinstry tweeted.

"As this chapter comes to an end, know that there are many more yet to be written. The future is yours. Go ahead and write your story in the years to come."

The Hippos marked their debut in the U20 Afcon with a 2-0 win over Mozambique in Group A. They followed it up with a 1-0 loss to Cameroon before defeating the hosts Mauritania 2-1 to advance to the quarters.

They eliminated Burkina Faso in the last eight through the shootout before defeating Tunisia 4-1 in the semis to advance to the final where they fell to the Satellites.

In an initial interview, head coach Morley Byekwaso challenged Fifa to find a solution and ensure the U20 World Cup is played.

As has been the norm, the last four teams were to qualify for the global competition that was initially scheduled to be played in Indonesia but was cancelled owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"Fifa need to stick to the principles and find a way to play the tournament," Byekwaso told reporters.

"We have been fighting so hard to reach the World Cup but if we miss out on this chance the boys are going to grow, get older and go into the other age brackets."

The tactician has pointed out the World Cup would have been a massive opportunity for his charges to learn and improve.

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"This means that our players will miss out on such a golden chance to play against the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Norway, and England," Byekwaso added.

"Interacting with such teams can never leave you the same because there is a lot you learn from them. Countries like Nigeria and Ghana have benefited from these tournaments because they often qualify for them. 

"But in one year I have managed to win the regional tournament [Cecafa] and for the first time guided the boys to the finals of their debutant tournament. I am so happy and thank God for the journey."