McKinstry 'satisfied' despite Zambia defeat

Amavubi Stars head coach Johnny McKinstry has revealed that he is amazed with the national side’s impressive performance despite the 2-0 loss to Zambia in an international friendly on Sunday in Lusaka.
Amavubi head coach Johnny McKinstry (extreme right) oversees his team through their final preparations ahead of the Zambia friendly which Rwanda lost 2-0 on Sunday. (S. Ngendahimana)
Amavubi head coach Johnny McKinstry (extreme right) oversees his team through their final preparations ahead of the Zambia friendly which Rwanda lost 2-0 on Sunday. (S. Ngendahimana)

Amavubi Stars head coach Johnny McKinstry has revealed that he is amazed with the national side’s impressive performance despite the 2-0 loss to Zambia in an international friendly on Sunday in Lusaka.

In an exclusive interview with Times Sport, the Irishman said, “Overall, I am reasonably satisfied with the players because we had a short time (5 days) to prepare for this encounter. I feel that we played really well in the first 65 or 70 minutes. We managed to frustrate Zambia and their first attempt at goal was after 23 minutes in the first half.”

The Amavubi conceded in the 61st minute when substitute Allan Mukuka sent a superb pass into the penalty box which team captain Rainford Kalaba converted to give the home side the lead.

McKinstry revealed that prior to the first goal, central defender Ismael Nshutiyamagara was receiving treatment for a lower back strain while his replacement James Tubane was waiting to come on and it is this moment that Kalaba utilized to score.

“The experienced Chipolopolo used this 20-second lapse to score while we were one-man down and that can be blamed on our inexperience. This is a very young team but it is from such circumstances that we learn,” explained the former Sierra Leone coach.

The Irishman was however disappointed with the second goal, a well taken strike by Mukuka which resulted from losing the ball in midfield.

He said, “It is a disappointing result because I hate losing and I love winning. I have my own definition of winning though for instance, when we get to Chan, can we get to the business end of the tournament?

“Winning is qualifying for Afcon and not necessarily to win friendly matches even though it will affect our Fifa ranking. If a loss allows us to learn and build character then I will take it. As the games start coming, we shall become very difficult to beat.”

Rwanda Football Association has lined up several friendly matches for the Amavubi throughout the year in preparation for the 2016 African Nations Championship (Chan) that will be hosted in Rwanda from January 16-February 7.

The Amavubi who are expected to return home today from Lusaka, will face South Africa on July 25 in Johannesburg.