U-23: Rwanda seal 2-0 victory over Somalia with stunning 91st minute goal.

Rwanda players Yannick Mukunzi and Kevin Muhire score for Rwanda to give Coach McKinstry's side a home win today (25 April 2015) in the first leg of their 2015 CAF U-23 Championship and 2016 Rio Olympics qualifier.

Rwanda now take a 2 goal cushion into their away leg to be played on 9 May 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Rwanda vs Somalia 250415 - Teams Line up before game

Coach McKinstry: View from the Dugout

Coach McKinstry sets out his assessment of the game, and his ongoing work to build the U-23 team.

"Obviously getting the win is very pleasing - The 2-0 victory today gives us a good cushion going into the second leg"


First Half

"Somalia came out looking to sit very deep and defend, so it was never going to be easy to get through them."

"Our first half our performance was quite good - we hit the cross bar from a free kick after one minute. On 17 minutes we scored from another set piece - a corner. We successfully drew Somalia players out allowing us space to place the crossed ball for midfielder Yannick Mukunzi who directed his header and we moved 1-0 ahead."

"The game was largely played in the Somalia half. Although I felt we could have been a bit more aggressive in the final third, we dominated the first half and went into half time 1-0 up".


Second Half

"We wanted make our 1-0 advantage count so we changed the formation slightly, subbing off holding midfielder Jean Marie Muvandimwe for striker Isaac Muganza - to try and be a bit more aggressive in the second half."

"Overall however, I think we gave Somalia a little bit too much respect in the second half. We allowed them to come out a bit more with the ball and we also didn't apply enough pressure in the 15 yards in front of the half way line, allowing them to play long balls."

"That said, our goalkeeper didn't have to make a single save - he was in an all white kit and there wasn't a bit of dirt on it. Somalia had no corners, they had no shots on target. They tried some long-range efforts but our goalkeeper wasn't worked at all."


"A bit of Magic to seal the performance"

At 80 minutes, Coach McKinstry sent on 16 year old Kevin Muhire to replace Italian based Bonfils Kabanda for the last 10 minutes.

 "I sent him on with one instruction... just before he went on I walked over to him on the half-way line and said 'if you get a bit of space outside the box you must shoot...' "

In the 91st minute, and from about 30 yards Muhire did just that.

"He was about 30 yards out, he opened up into a bit of space and made the strike I had asked for. The trajectory began deceptively high and wide, but swinging in - right into the top right-hand corner.  I've never had a player score a goal as good as that for me, and I also think it has probably been many a year since the Amavubi fans will have seen a goal as good as that at the Amahoro stadium... 

It was a bit of magic to seal our performance and the victory, from a young player with a lot of talent and promise."


VIDEO: See the Goal:



"Despite a solid first half performance, I thought that we had not been aggressive enough in the final third of that half, despite it being something we had been speaking about all week in training.."

"Overall, I was quite frustrated by our second half performance. Our quality wasn't as high as our standards had been in training. The impact of the last minute decision not to include 8 players in the squad due to an administrative issue likely impacted on our performance overall - as we were required to field less experienced players who had to step in for some of the more experienced players who were ineligible due to the last minute administrative issues."

"Muhire scored a fantastic goal. He is a player with a lots of quality but is clearly still very young. Although he has scored a great goal in a 10 minute cameo performance at the end, we have to consider how we nurture his talent and feed him in gently into the game."

"I am pleased with our 2-0 win.  When we get back on the training pitch in 8 days time, I will be looking to continue my work to ensure we better apply pressure to the opposition and also bring a more aggressive, attacking focus to our game."

"Hopefully FERWAFA will also by then have sorted out the administration issues so that those 8 players who missed out today will be available, and we will have a full squad to choose from."

 Rwanda celebrate scoring against Somalia

Rwanda Squad 

Marcel Nzarora Police
Emery Bayisenge (C) APR
Yves Rubasha Portland Timbers (USA)
Janvier Mutijima AS Kigali
Solomon Nirasrike VV St. Truiden (Belgium)
Yannick Mukunzi APR
Justin Mico AS Kigali
Bon fils Kabanda ASD Sangiovannese (Italy)
Jean-Marie Muvandimwe Gicumbi
Bertrand Iradukunda APR
Dominique Savio Nshuti Isonga
Bonheur Hategikimana  
Celestine Ndayishimiye Makura FC
Abdul Rwatubyaya  
Kevin Muhire Isonga
Isaac Muganza Rayon Sport
Isaie Songa AS Kigali
Bienvue Mugenzi Marines


Coaching Staff: Johnny McKinstry (Head Coach), Thierry Hitimana (Assistant Coach),Thomas Higiro (Goalkeeper's coach), Moussa Hakizimana (Doctor), Nuhu Assouman (Physio) na Emery Kamanzi (Team Administrator)


Images in this article sourced from http://www.onzestars.com/?p=394


CAF U23 Championship

The 2015 CAF U-23 Championship will be the second edition of the CAF U-23 Championship, the quadrennial youth football tournament organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the under-23 national teams of their member associations.

Rwanda will face Somalia in a return leg on 9 May 2015 (Nairobi, Kenya).  Should Rwanda overcome Somalia they will then face Uganda, with the winner of that fixture going on to face Egypt.

A total of eight teams will then play in the final tournament, to be hosted in Senegal, December 5-19 2015.

Olympic Qualifiers

The tournament also acts as qualification to the 2016 Summer Olympics men's football tournament , with the top three teams qualifying.


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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 the Gambia National Team and Head Coach of Gor Mahia FC in Kenya (2022-24) where he won two Kenya Premier League titles (2023-24, 2022-23), and the 2023-24 Kenya Charity Shield, returning the club to the top of Kenyan football.

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

He was Head Coach of the Rwanda National Football Team (2015-16). Within 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).   

Coach McKinstry is a European (UEFA), American (NSCAA) and university qualified football coach and a member of Common Goal.

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
  • 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
  • The figures do not lie. The six matches on McKinstry’s watch have been World Cup or Cup of Nations qualifiers. They have lost one.

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    the guardian
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