FUFA elect Jonathan McKinstry
FUFA elect Jonathan McKinstry as Desabre's replacement to head the Uganda Cranes team. File Photo

Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) elect Jonathan McKinstry as Sebastien Desabre’s replacement

Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) has unveiled Jonathan 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.

Currently ranked 80 in the FIFA World Rankings, McKinstry who is only 34 years old, is taking on one of the top international positions in Africa.

Jonathan McKinstry new Uganda Cranes
McKinstry who is only 34 years old, is taking on one of the top international positions in Africa.

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

“I am honoured to be asked by FUFA to become Head Coach of the Uganda Cranes, and excited to work with an excellent group of players. Together we will work to raise the level of performances and secure results,” said Coach McKinstry stated after the confirmation.

“My objective will be to take the best of what is already there and combine it with both new talent and new working practices to improve performance. With effort and application we can maximise both individual and team potential in the months and years ahead,” he added.

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.

Everything you need to know about Uganda Cranes new coach 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.

coach Jonathan McKinstry
Following his appointment, he becomes the first person from Northern Ireland to be Head Coach

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.

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