McKinstry first arrived in Africa in 2005, working with Right to Dream Academy in Ghana.

Uganda Cranes coach Jonathan Mckinstry has explained why West African footballers have an edge over their Ugandan counterparts.

Mckinstry was speaking to Kawowo Sports’ Ismael Kiyonga in an extended interview, when he revealed what exactly sets West African stars apart.

With his huge experience from Sierra Leone where he managed the national team, Mckinstry talked up what Uganda should be doing to get better especially with the available deposit of talented players.

Sadio Mane, Farouk Miya and Emmanuel Okwi

“Uganda is untapped at the moment,” he told Kiyonga when quizzed on how he would grade talent in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

“The biggest advantage is that West African Nations have in developing their talent and identifying it is that there are so many academies.

“Here in Uganda, there are lots of ogarnizations that are termed academies but you know the kids maybe pay something small and they come and get some coaching.

“There is a place for those football schools but its not an academy in the true sense of the word – of the best players from wherever they are in the country .. come to be there.”

He added; “We don’t really have that from a young age whereas if you go to West Africa and in Ghana and Sierra Leone .. my academy in Sierra Leone, the boys came into a full residential environment at 11 years of age.

Cameroon players celebrate after winning AFCON 2017 Credit: © Kawowo Sports | AMINAH BABIRYE

“Everyday they were getting three hours of football training and five hours school on site everyday. So they have the exposure and support whereas here in Uganda we don’t really have that.

“I know there’s one or two people trying to move in that direction and that should be supported.

“The big challenge is.. there is talent here, there is no doubt about that.. but the majority of young ugandan footballers.. the first time they get into an organized football structure, they are 16, 17 years of age which is really too late.”

Uganda Cranes coach Jonathan Mckinstry

Solution to making Uganda’s talent better

Mckinstry urges the Ugandan football fraternity to explore having young footballers start as early 11 years of age, and guided with precision till they are fully ready to perform.

“You need to get into that organized football structure with good organized coaching and guidance at the age of 11, 12 and when we get there, I think you will see the talent level of Uganda sky-rocketing.”

Deputy Editor at Kawowo Sports. He is an aspiring Sport Psychologist.

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