Johnathan McKinstry’s games for Uganda Cranes:

  • Ethiopia 0-1 Uganda Cranes (International friendly match)
  • Burkina Faso 0-0 Uganda Cranes (AFCON 2021 Qualifier)
  • North East Region 0-4 Uganda Cranes (Domestic Regional Tour)
  • Uganda Cranes 2-0 Malawi (AFCON 2021 Qualifier)

When Sudanese FIFA Referee Mahmood Mahmood Ismail blew for full time at the gigantic Mandela National Stadium for the climax of Uganda’ 2-0 home win over Malawi, Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry smiled heartily.

He flashed the fist pump celebration his face before he quickly turned to hug long serving goalkeeping coach, Fred Kajoba Kisitu.

It was a timely gesture coming moments after guiding Uganda Cranes to the first victory in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers whose final tourney will be hosted by West African entity Cameroon.

This was also the first win for the Northern Irishman on home soil since taking over from Frenchman, Sebastien Desabre in October 2019.

For McKinstry, this was his second win in international football, the first having come away from home in Ethiopia, 1-0.

Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, scorer of the lone strike in Ethiopia, once again opened the scoring against Malawi.

Then Vipers’ gangly forward Fahad Bayo employed the icing on the cake with the second goal, a sublime finish past goalkeeper Brighton Munthali.

McKinstry openly expressed his delight for the home victory, singing special praise of the players, technical and administrative staff as well as the 12th man in the stands.

McKinstry applauds the fans after the final whistle

I wish to thank the players for the spirited and collective performance. We took advantage of our two moments. Okwi is an experienced campaigner and Bayo is a young player who utilized the opportunity to score. I give credit to the opponent players and coaching staff. They were also an energetic team

Johnathan McKinstry, Uganda Cranes Head Coach
Some of the fans who graced the Uganda Cranes game against Malawi at Mandela National Stadium

McKinstry hinted on the gradual progress of youngster Allan Okello whom he believes will keep developing as a player to establish himself into the team.

Okello was one of the three mandatory substitutes executed when he replaced William Luwagga Kizito in the 67th minute.

Earlier, Moroccoan based defender Murushid Juuko had limped out for Timothy Denis Awany with a quarter of an hour played in the second half.

Holding midfielder Khalid Aucho later paved way (with a knock) for Tadeo Lwanga.

With Uganda Cranes’ win at home and the away point secured in Burkina Faso, the Cranes lead group B with four points and a goal difference ahead of the West Africans who smiled to a 2-1 victory on the road over South Sudan.

Malawi is third with three points which were secured on match day one when they beat South Sudan 1-0 in Lilongwe city.

Emmanuel Arnold Okwi and Fahad Bayo celebrate the opening goal

Uganda Cranes XI: Denis Onyango (GK, Captain), Nico Wakiro Wadada, Joseph Benson Ochaya,  Bevis Mugabi, Murushid Juuko (57’ Timothy Denis Awany), Khalid Aucho (81’ Tadeo Lwanga), Mike Azira, Faruku Miya, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, Fahad Bayo, William Luwagga Kizito (67’ Allan Okello)

Subs Not Used: Robert Odongkara (GK), Charles Lukwago (GK), Halid Lwaliwa, Allan Kyambadde, Isaac Muleme, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Henry Patrick Kaddu

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

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