Coach Johnathan McKinstry
New Uganda Cranes coach Johnathan McKinstry determined to succeed despite his young age. Photo/Airtel Football

Coach Johnathan McKinstry, 34 years of age is the newly appointed Uganda Cranes head coach and he’s determined to succeed despite his young age

Newly appointed Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry is determined to succeed at his new role despite claims of him being too young.

Earlier this week, the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) unveiled Johnathan McKinstry as the new Uganda Cranes head coach on a 3-year contract.

The former Rwanda national coach who is set to begin his work effectively on 1st October 2019 was unveiled to the public on Monday 30th September 2019 at the federation’s office in Mengo. 

Coach Johnathan McKinstry who is only 34 years old at the moment Africa is not concerned about his age but rather looking to ensure he gets the best out of the players. 

Mckinstry also reminded that he joined Sierra Leone at a young age but he had a good time there with players who were extremely older than him.

“When I took over at Sierra Leone, I was 27 years, I was the youngest manager in international football, I had players who were playing for the likes AC Milan, Norwich City, Rangers, Middlesbrough, and Celtic,” he said.

“They were all old men and they probably thought when they came into training camp, who is this 27-year old that is going to be the manager of the national team,” he added before highlighting that he is used to dealing with even bigger players.

Besides, Mckinstry also cited that a player’s age has never been his problem but rather he prefers working with those who have a proper mindset.

“And I can understand, if you are coming from AC Milan where you have been training with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Genaro Gatusso and you come for national duty, and you are presented with a young a coach, you are not sure if it will work,” he said before adding,

“But we came together, we worked and we moved the team forward, it was genuinely never a problem.”

Following his appointment, he becomes the first person from Northern Ireland to be Head Coach of three different international men’s football teams.

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Coach Johnathan McKinstry replaces Sebastien Desabre who left the role in favour of the Pyramids Football Club offer immediately after the Cranes had bowed out of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Meanwhile, the team has been in the hands of interim manager, Abdallah Mubiru who has recorded some good results as they await a new manager.

New Uganda Cranes coach Jonathan McKinstry
Newly appointed Uganda Cranes head coach, Coach Johnathan McKinstry

Profile – Coach Johnathan McKinstry

He is a UEFA Pro licensed football manager.

UEFA Pro licence is one mandated by UEFA, the official governing body of European football. It is the highest coaching certification available and generally follows the completion of the UEFA ‘B’ and ‘A’ licences.

McKinstry has coached in several countries; Northern Ireland, England, USA, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Lithuania.

His early career was focused on elite youth development through roles with Newcastle United, New York Red Bulls, the Right to Dream Academy and the Craig Bellamy Foundation.

He has for long wanted to coach Uganda Cranes and in 2017, he was shortlisted by FUFA as one of the applicants for the job.

By that time he was the head coach at Lithuanian A-Lyga club FK Kauno Zalgiris while Moses Basena was interim.

Basena had just replaced Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic who ended his contract with Fufa in July the same year, over unpaid wages.

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Coach Johnathan McKinstry guided Sierra Leone to their highest ever FIFA World Ranking position of 50th.

During his reign in around 2014, Sierra Leone was banned from playing fixtures at home because of the Ebola outbreak.

By John Dalton Kigozi