CHAN 2016: Rwanda defeat Gabon 2-1 to move to Quarter finals

CHAN 2016: Rwanda and Coach McKinstry have defeated Gabon 2-1, moving to the quarter-finals of CHAN for the first time in their history (20 Jan 2016).

Rwanda have secured their place in the quarter finals, finishing top of Group A with a game in hand. In doing so they become the first Amavubi team to reach the last 8 of a continental tournament.

Amavubi Squad [Rwanda vs Gabon, CHAN - Group A, 20 Jan 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.  Photo © Darren McKinstry 2016,]

Ernest SUGIRA (16) scored two goals to take the Amavubi to two wins from two games and, in securing them a minimum of 6 points, ensure that they progress to the Quarter finals.


Rwanda moved ahead just before half-time with a goal from Sugira at 38 minutes when he follwed through on a cleared close range effort from team-mate Jacques TUYISENGE (9, Cpt)


Just moments into the second half Sugira put himself on the score-sheet again when just outside the box he turned inside his defender and put in a superb strike on goal (picture).


Sugira strikes to claim his second goal! [Rwanda vs Gabon, CHAN - Group A, 20 Jan 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.  Photo © Darren McKinstry 2016,]Gabon however took advantage of an overexcited Rwandan crowd and team when they pulled one back around 5 minutes later through Aaron Boupendza, heading in at the 53rd minute.


Rwanda regained composure and continue to make repeated assaults on the Gabon defence. Tchen Kabi (6) was sent off when he picked up his second yellow of the game, following a foul on Dominique Savio NSHUTI (11).


One man down, Gabon sought to apply the pressure required to stay in the tournament, coming close in the dying minutes when they had a free-kick from just outside the penalty area hit the crossbar.


The win meant Rwanda not only stayed top of Group A, but also became the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals. Later in the day, the win by Cote d'Ivoire over Morocco meant that Rwanda had, with a game in hand, won Group A.


Rwanda now face on Morocco on Sunday 24th January in the third and final fixture of Group A at the Amahoro Stadium, Kigali.


Coach McKinstry and the technical team leave the field following their win [Rwanda vs Gabon, CHAN - Group A, 20 Jan 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.  Photo © Darren McKinstry 2016,]

'Man of the Match'

Amavubi Striker Ernest SUGIRA (16) was voted Man of the Match.



Rwanda Team


Yannick MUKUNZI (6)
Jacques TUYISENGE (9, Cpt)
Jean-Claude IRANZI(12)
Fitina OMBORENGA (13)
Celestin NDAYISHIMIYE (14)
Ernest SUGIRA (16)
Innocent HABYARIMANA (17)

Djihad BIZIMANA (4)
Rashid KALISA (7)
Dominique Savio NSHUTI (11)
Fuastin USENGIMANA (15)
Olivier KWIZERA (18)
Yussufu HABIMANA (19)
Fiston MUNEZERO (21)
Jean Claude NDORI (23)


Post Match Interview with Coach McKinstry and Ernest Sugira.

VIDEO (4 minutes): Coach McKinstry sets out how he, his technical staff and the Amavubi worked to overcome Gabon, and why he thought Ernest Sugira was the right choice for the game. Ernest Sugira talks about the 2 goals he scored against Gabon and being awarded Man of the Match'.


Match Highlights 

Photo Highlights

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Video Highlights

Match highlights (3:22) courtesy of CAF TV



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About Coach McKinstry

Coach McKinstry is a UEFA Pro Licensed Football Coach.  As Head Coach of the Uganda National Team, the 'Uganda Cranes' (2019 - 2021) he delivered a WIN from 2 in every 3 games and went 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.  In his first 3 months in charge, he had led Uganda to win CECAFA 2019; had put Uganda top of their AFCON qualification group; and secured 9 wins and 1 draw from his first 10 games.  In winning CECAFA 2019, Uganda did so by winning all six of their matches, only the second time in Uganda's history that they had done so by winning every game they played in the tournament.  In AFCON qualifiers, under his management Uganda were the only team of all 48 nations competing to have conceded zero goals from open play.

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. 

He was Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team (2013-14). 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 was 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
  • McKinstry has come close to a giant killing before, when his Sierra Leone side came within half an hour of defeating Herve Renard’s Cote d’Ivoire.

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    Ed Dove
  • Leone Stars shine with purpose... what is even more remarkable is what the young Northern Irishman has done ... the Leone Stars are ranked 50th in the world and seventh in Africa – higher than they have ever been.

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