Rwanda national football team head coach Johnny McKnistry has tipped the U20 side to take advantage of the forthcoming 2017 U20 Africa Youth Championship qualifiers. He urged the players to use the competition to make their bid for a place on the senior team in the near future.
Rwanda U20 is scheduled to play against archrivals Uganda in first qualification round for the AYC finals tournament which will be held in Zambia—the first qualifying round matches will be played on weekend of April 1-3 and the return leg on April 22-24.
Speaking to Times Sport, McKinstry said that regardless of who Rwanda plays in this round, the U20 competition is a great opportunity for the young players to gain international experience.
“Uganda has a lot of talented young players and a competitive domestic league even at junior level, like when you look at Farouk Miya who was here for CHAN, and has just signed for Standard de Liege at 19 years, so our boys also have got to prove themselves,” said McKinstry.
He added that the competition will also help some of his senior team players, who are still in their teens including the likes of Abdul Rwatubyaye, Savio Nshuti and Kevin Muhire, if the U20 coach decides to involve them in his squad.
“For me I would like to see technical and skilled players selected instead of the more physical players; yes I know they are going to make mistakes because of the age, but if we stick with them over time, they can only get better,” explained the 30-year old Northern Irishman.
Last year, Uganda U-23 beat Rwanda twice during the second round of the 2016 Rio Olympic qualifiers 2-1 in Kigali and 2-0 in Kampala, and a year before, Uganda U17 team, led by Farouk Miya, eliminated Rwanda in the qualifiers for the continental youth championship.