McKinstry given two-year contract ahead of Mauritius tie
Rwanda national football team head coach Johnathan mcKinstry has been given a two-year contract extension a few days before amavubi face Mauritius in a two-legged Africa Nationâ€™s Cup qualifier.
Rwanda plays Mauritius away on March 26 at the Anjalay Stadium in Belle-Vue before the return leg in Kigali three days later.
McKinstry confirmed the development in Wednesdayâ€™s press conference held at Ferwafa headquarters in Remera.
He said, â€œI have been given a two-year contract which runs until 2018. My target is to ensure that we qualify for Gabon 2017 AFCON finals,â€
The 30-year old Northern Irishman, who took over Amavubi in March last year, recently guided the Rwandan outfit to the Chan 2016 quarterfinals, the first time the senior side made it past the group stages of a major football competition.
He largely believes he met his set targets that included moving the team forward by getting to the Cecafa quarterfinals and being competitive at Chan 2016.
However, Rwandaâ€™s shortcoming in the Fifa 2018 World Cup qualifiers is something McKinstry wants to put behind him.
A 1-0 loss to Libya in Tunisia and a 3-1 thumping in Kigali on a bright sunny November afternoon spelled doom for his side but a strong comeback three days later at Cecafa saw the Amavubi regain their lost confidence.
Ultimately, Rwanda made it to the Cecafa final in Ethiopia in December losing to archrivals Uganda 1-0 having defeated the tournament hosts Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan en-route to the last hurdle.
Amavubi then held Cameroon to a 1-1 draw before beating DR Congo 1-0 in two friendly games later that month to prepare for Chan 2016 that was hosted in Rwanda.
In the Chan 2016 opener, Rwanda shocked Ivory Coast in a 1-0 historic victory before going on to beat Gabon to book a place in the last eight and top Group A with six points.
A 4-1 loss to Morocco in the last Group A fixture did not change Rwandaâ€™s fortunes in the quarterfinals but it was the heartbreaking 2-1 loss to archrivals DR Congo in the quarterfinals that denied the hosts a historic place in the semifinals.
Nonetheless, history had been made and the grateful McKinstry said, â€œEveryone seemed happy with our performance in 2015 and during Chan 2016. I think we can push on in the Afcon 2017 qualifiers. We have Mauritius coming up this month.â€
Mauritius will host Rwanda on March 26 at 3pm local time before heading straight back to Kigali where they will face off in the return leg on March 29 at 3:30pm local time.
Rwanda sits in second place in Group H with three points behind table leaders Ghana who have six from two wins over Mauritius and Rwanda.