AFCON2017: Rwanda will face Ghana, Mozambique, & Mauritius in qualifiers

Coach McKinstry:  "Rwanda's qualification group offers potential, but focus and dedication will be needed to progress".


Rwanda have been drawn in Group H, alongside likely tournament favorites Ghana, as well as Mozambique & Mauritius. The winners in each of the 13 groups will qualify automatically to the final tournament in Gabon in 2017, while the two runners-up with the best records will also join the hosts to make 16 teams.

Ghana are the team all others will have been wanting to avoid - having just finished runners up in AFCON 2015 with a very young team who will only continue to develop - making them likely favorites for AFCON 2017 in Gabon.

Speaking after the draw, Coach McKinstry said:

"The group provides both challenges and potential. Ghana's young team will only continue to develop and so we will need to work hard to do the same."

Mozambique and Mauritius will likely be looking at the group and hoping they do enough to stake a claim for one of the two best runner-up positions that will also qualify for the finals

"The Amavubi will need to work hard over the coming months to ensure we progress. Mozambique and Mauritius will be out to win every game and so will be difficult opponents to overcome, but with hard work we can seek to qualify by taking one of the top two spots in the Group."

Rwanda will face Mozambique away in June 2015, followed by Ghana at home in Kigali in September 2015.

The Amavubi fans will be hoping for a repeat of their 2003 home AFCON encounter against Ghana, where they defeated Ghana 1-0 in Kigali.  The Ghana side are however a very different side now compared to 2003, having just made it to the finals of AFCON 2015 with a young and upcoming side.

Coach McKinstry is however well placed to take on the Black Stars.  During his time at Ghana's Right to Dream Academy he coached a number of players who will likely feature for Ghana in 2017 - including current internationals Abdul Waris and David Accam.

RWANDA FIXTURES - AFCON 2017 Qualification

  • 12-14 Jun 2015 - Mozambique v Rwanda
  • 4-6 Sep 2015 - Rwanda v Ghana
  • 23-26 Mar 2016 - Mauritius v Rwanda
  • 26-29 Mar 2016 - Rwanda v Mauritius
  • 3-5 Jun 2016 - Rwanda v Mozambique
  • 2-4 Sep 2016 - Ghana v Rwanda

Full draw for 2017 AFCON qualifiers:

Group A: Tunisia, Togo, Liberia, Djibouti
Group B: Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Central African Republic, Madagascar
Group C: Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Benin, South Sudan
Group D: Burkina Faso, Uganda, Botswana, Comoros
Group E: Zambia, Congo, Kenya, Guinea Bissau
Group F: Cape Verde, Morocco, Libya, Sao Tome
Group G: Nigeria, Egypt, Tanzania, Chad
Group H: Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda, Mauritius
Group I: Ivory Coast, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Gabon
Group J: Algeria, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Seychelles
Group K: Senegal, Niger, Namibia, Burundi
Group L: Guinea, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland
Group M: Cameroon, South Africa, The Gambia, Mauritania

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You can read more about Coach McKinstry's:

About Coach McKinstry

Coach McKinstry is a UEFA Pro Licensed Football Coach, with a number of successes across his 20+ year career to date.    He is currently Head Coach of Gor Mahia FC in Kenya

As Head Coach of the Uganda National Team, the 'Uganda Cranes' (2019 - 2021) he led Uganda to win CECAFA 2019 and over his tenure delivered a WIN from 2 in every 3 games, going undefeated in over 8 in every 10 games played.  This represented the highest 'win' and 'undefeated' rate achieved by a Uganda National Team Coach in over 15 years.

He was International Manager and Head Coach of the Rwanda National Football Team (2015-16). Within just 17 months he led Rwanda to a number of highs - including their first ever appearance in the knockout stages of a major international tournament (Quarter-finals of CHAN, Jan 2016) and finished runner-up in CECAFA (Dec 2105), being named 'Coach of the Tournament' for his efforts. 

Across 2013-14, he was Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team. Within just over a year, he had led Sierra Leone to their highest ever FIFA World and African rankings - 7th in Africa and 50th in the World (August 2014). 

He has also been Head Coach of Saif Sporting Club, Bangladesh Premier League (2018-19); and FK Kauno Zalgiris, Lithuanian A-Lyga (2017-18).  He is a European (UEFA), American (NSCAA) and university qualified football coach. 

Coach McKinstry is a member of 'Common Goal'. Together members seek to support high-impact organisations that harness the power of football to advance the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Quotes: What the media say

  • McKinstry has experienced much more than the average coach his age. His career has gone from strength to strength, starting in Northern Ireland and England, then via America to West Africa eventually.

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    Damien Edgar Backpage Football
  • This is not a man who does things by the book. Having been a coach from the age of 15, McKinstry already has miles on the clock.

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    Ben Smith BBC Sport
  • McKinstry led the team to their highest ever placing in the FIFA world rankings. They broke into the top 50, ahead of his native Northern Ireland.

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    Damien Edgar Backpage Football
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