Johnathan McKinstry holds the CECAFA 2019 Senior Challenge Cup trophy

Football is one unique game that at any one time (unless otherwise) calls for 22 players on the field of play, one ball, a center referee, two assistants, a fourth official, video assistant referee, the technical bench of respective teams in place and the 13th player (fans).

It is tagged the beautiful game for varying reasons given the adrenaline stimulating moments that manifest the true feeling of joy and passion as it as preaches the elements of trust, teamwork and unity.

Head coach of the Uganda national football team (Uganda Cranes) Johnathan McKinstry stresses the value of solidarity and disciplined approach.

On Wednesday, 30th September 2020, McKinstry, a UEFA Pro Licence holder from Northern Ireland marked a full year in service on the job where he replaced French born tactician Sebastian Desabre.

The hardworking Irishman has since retaliated that fact that the journey is still in the early stages and has also called for unification, effectiveness as well as disciplined approach.

We are still in the early stages of our journey. But I believe that together; with unified Effort, effective application and discipline in our approach. We can scale the highest peaks. Thank you to everyone who has played their part so far and for the continued support.

Johnathan McKinstry, Head Coach of Uganda Cranes
Uganda Cranes lifted the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup on home soil in Kampala

In a year that was plugged by the Coronavirus pandemic, there has not been much international football played.

In fact, Uganda Cranes has been been in action since lifting the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in December 2020 at Lugogo Stadium in Kampala, a tournament that was used as preparatory platform for the local legion ahead of CHAN 2020 that was later pushed ahead to January 2021.

By and large, McKinstry has had an outstanding display in the 10 matches handled for the Uganda Cranes, recording 9 victories, 1 stalemate and no loss.

Six of the wins came at the 2020 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, one win apiece in the AFCON and CHAN qualifiers, another victory in an international friendly match as well as one draw in the AFCON qualifiers.

Johnathan McKinstry during the unveiling ceremony at FUFA House in Kampala

McKinstry’s first game in charge was that 1-0 win for Uganda Cranes away over Ethiopia Walia Stars at the Bahir Dar Stadium.

Egyptian based forward Emmanuel Arnold Okwi scored the lone strike.

Then, he picked a point off West Africans Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou during the score-less draw.

The third game was that home 2-0 win against Malawi Flames at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole in a match Okwi and Fahad Bayo were on target.

The other six wins were during the 2020 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup tournament in Kampala that Uganda won on home soil.

There were victories over Burundi (2-1), Somalia (2-0), Eritrea (2-0), Djibouti (4-1), Tanzania (1-0) and in the final Eritrea (3-0).

In totality, under McKinstry, Uganda Cranes has scored as many as 20 goals and conceded just twice over 10 matches.

Uganda Cranes head coach Jonathan McKinstry
Uganda Cranes head coach Johnathan McKinstry acknowledges fans after his first home game, a 2-0 win over Malawi

McKinstry’s backroom staff has members as Abdallah Mubiru (first assistant), Charles Livingstone Mbazazi (second assistant) and Fred Kajoba Kisitu (Goalkeeping coach) as well as Alexander McCarthy (Trainer) and Geofrey Massa (Team coordinator).

Next in Line:

With a number of international fixtures pushed ahead by CAF and FIFA, a barrage of fixtures are piled up for Uganda Cranes in different competitions.

First things first, Uganda Cranes will play South Sudan in a double header fixture during the AFCON 2021 qualifiers.

Then, CECAFA 2020 may be held in December before CHAN 2021 comes in January.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers shall also be played in March 2021 and McKinstry as well as the technical team will have to plan for all these games.

McKinstry will name the traveling team to Dubai for a training camp which will kick off on 6th and climax on the 13th October 2020 as a preparation for the South Sudan double header.

Jonathan McKinstry (Third left) during the international build up away in Ethiopia last month. Uganda Cranes won 1-0 Credit: FUFA Media

Johnathan McKinstry’s games in charge for the Uganda Cranes so far:

International Friendly Match: Ethiopia Walia Stars 1-0 Uganda Cranes

CHAN 2020 Qualifiers: Uganda Cranes 3-0 Burundi

AFCON 2021 Qualifiers: Burkina Faso 0-0 Uganda Cranes

AFCON 2021 Qualifiers: Uganda Cranes 2-0 Malawi Flames

2020 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup: Uganda Cranes 2-1 Burundi

2020 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup: Uganda Cranes 2-0 Somalia

2020 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup: Uganda Cranes 2-0 Eritrea

2020 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup: Uganda Cranes 4-1 Djibouti

2020 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup (Semi-final): Uganda Cranes 1-0 Tanzania

2020 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup (Final): Uganda Cranes 3-0 Eritrea

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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