Johnny McKinstry signs the employment contract Credit: FUFA

Northern Irishman Johnathan “Johnny” McKinstry is by far a lucky, well positioned and qualified man.

For the next three years (unless otherwise), McKinstry who holds a UEFA Pro Licence will be at the helm of Uganda Cranes team as head coach.

He then signed the employment contract at Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) Headquarters in Mengo, Kampala.

Moments later, he was officially unveiled by the Acting FUFA President Justus Mugisha alongside the Federation CEO Edgar Watson and the newly elevated communications director Ahmed Hussein Marsha.

To take the job, McKinstry beat 136 other coaches who applied for the job, according to Watson.

L-R: Edgar Watson, Johnathan McKinstry, Justus Mugisha and Ahmed Hussein during the press conference in Kampala on Monday

“A total of 137 coaches applied for the Uganda Cranes head coach job when FUFA mutually terminated the contract with the former coach (Sebastien Desabre). We had a panel that included Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel (Government official), Stone Kyamadde, myself (Edgar Watson), and an African football expert including Kalusha Bwalya. We narrowed down the names to three from whom McKinstry was picked by the FUFA Executive” Watson told the media.

It was the historic 95th FUFA Ordinary Assembly that convened in Adjumani, West Nile that confirmed the appointment of Johnathan McKinstry as the next Uganda Cranes head coach.

Johnathan McKinstry being handed the treasured Uganda Cranes red jersey by Justus Mugisha, the Acting FUFA President

The 34 year old Irishman had made the final three man shortlist alongside AFCON 2017 winning coach Hugo Broos and Luc Eymael.

Some of the other coaches who applied included Danilo Doncic, a winner of Malta Super Cup and League, Ghanaian Maxwell Konado, Antonio Hey, former Vipers head coach Antonio Da Costa among others.

FUFA was filling the void left by Frenchman Sebastien Desabre whose contract was mutually terminated after Uganda Cranes’ AFCON 2019 finals in Egypt.

Before McKinstry’s appointment, two interim coaches Abdallah Mubiru and Charles Livingstone Mbabazi have been serving.

Johnny McKinstry signs the employment contract Credit: FUFA

Immediate Work tasks ahead:

McKinstry’s immediate work will see him handle the Uganda Cranes in the return leg of the CHAN 2020 Qualifiers against Burundi on 19th October 2019 in Kampala.

Six weeks later, he will oversee the first AFCON 2021 away qualifier against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou.

Bio Data:

  • Date of Birth: 16th July, 1985
  • Place of Birth: Lishurn, Northern Ireland
  • Teams Managed: Sierra Leone National team (2013-2014), Rwanda National team (2015-2016), Kauno Zalgiris (Lithuania; 2017 – 2018), Siaf SC (Bangladesh; 2018-September 27th 2019)
  • Coach of the Tournament: CECAFA 2015 Senior Challenge Cup

Uganda Cranes coaches since 1965:

  • Alan Rogers (England) – 1965–1966
  • Robert Kiberu (Uganda) – 1967–1969
  • Burkhard Pape (Germany) – 1969–1972
  • David Otti (Uganda) – 1973–1974
  • Otto Westerhoff (Germany) – 1974–1975
  • Peter Okee (Uganda) – 1976–1981
  • Bidandi Ssali (Uganda) – 1982
  • Peter Okee (Uganda) – 1983
  • George Mukasa (Uganda) – 1984–1985
  • Barnabas Mwesigwa (Uganda) – 1986–1988
  • Robert Kiberu (Uganda) – 1988–1989
  • Polly Ouma (Uganda) – 1989–1995
  • Timothy Ayieko (Uganda) – 1995–1996
  • Asuman Lubowa (Uganda) – 1996–1999
  • Paul Hasule (Uganda) – 1999)
  • Harrison Okagbue (Nigeria) – 1999–2001
  • Paul Hasule (Uganda) – 2001–2003
  • Pedro Pasculli (Argentina) – 2003)
  • Leo Adraa (Uganda) – 2003–2004
  • Mike Mutebi (Uganda) – 2004)
  • Mohammed Abbas (Egypt) – 2004–2006
  • Csaba László (Hungary) – 2006–2008
  • Bobby Williamson (Scotland) – 2008–2013
  • Milutin Sredojević (Serbia) – 2013–2017
  • Moses Basena (Interim, 2017)
  • Sébastien Desabre (2017–2019)
  • Abdallah Mubiru (Interim, 2019)
  • Johnathan McKinstry (1st October 2019 – Present)
Johnathan McKinstry smiles during his maiden press conference in Uganda at FUFA House, Kampala on Monday, 30th September 2019

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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