McKinstry reveals why Uganda chose Dubai training camp over friendlies

Johnathan McKinstry of Uganda
The East Africans are set to visit Asia during the upcoming Fifa international break ahead of their November assignments

Uganda head coach Johnathan McKinstry has explained why they chose a training camp in Dubai over friendlies during the upcoming Fifa international break.

Uganda – like other nations – will have to honour the World Cup and their African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification matches in a condensed calendar late in the year and in 2021.

The record Cecafa champions are also set to participate in the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament in Cameroon.

“We believe that taking the team to Dubai for nine days helps us to achieve a lot of things. We get quality time with the players in class and on grounds which you wouldn’t get before,” McKinstry told the Fufa website.

“Logistically, most of our players are playing across 17 different countries and with restrictions of travel, it would be easy for them to get to Dubai where most of the restrictions have been lifted.

“It is not straight forward as well but it gives 80% of our players a chance and will be available. It’s been a long time since we last played in November last year and obviously, the camp is timely.

“When you look back at the last time we played in November last year against Burkina Faso and Malawi, we only had three training sessions coupled with travelling and playing two games in a space of four days.”

The former Rwanda coach, however, hinted they might play a friendly while in Asia.

“But here is an opportunity where we think of a huge value of getting to know ourselves better, getting some quality training sessions and the game plan,” the coach added.

“Definitely, we are looking at an option of a friendly game in Dubai with one of the clubs in the Arab Leagues but that will be confirmed at the end of this week.”

He also warned against any move to underestimate South Sudan, who they are going to meet first in the Afcon qualifiers.

This after the Bright Stars scheduled a friendly match against Africa's giants Cameroon before facing the Cranes.

“South Sudan are a team that we need to look at carefully,” he warned.

“It is not a matter of looking at the record books and think it’s a foregone conclusion. They have improved in the last years and whereas they lost to Burkina Faso and Malawi, they only lost 1-0 in both games.

“They are going to be tough, they are our opponents and have close connections here with some of their players born in Uganda and playing in the Ugandan Premier League.

“However, we shall go into the games against them with full commitment and whoever we field shall be up to the task.

“It’s all about qualifying and the fact that we have qualified for the last two [Afcon] editions, obviously the minimum should be getting back and go a step better.

Article continues below

“We definitely have the chance to qualify as soon as we can but we will not take things for granted.”