FUFA on Monday morning announced Northern Irishman, Jonathan McKinstry, 34, as the new Uganda national football team, the Cranes to replace Sebastien Desabre who quit the job to join Pyramids in Egypt.
“We selected a coach who fits in our vision of being the number one footballing nation in Africa on and off the pitch,” FUFA CEO Edgar Watson said during a press conference at Mengo.
The former Rwandan national team coach said he was honored to have been appointed the new Cranes coach.
“There is no doubt that the Cranes job is one of the best in international football across Africa. I am excited to be here. The players here are the group I believe we can achieve a lot with,”McKnistry said after being unveiled.
The Irishman who is a globetrotter has moved to several countries since he began his career that initially focused on elite youth development that saw him have stints at English side Newcastle United, New York Red Bulls, the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana and the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone.
At all these setups, McKnistry distinguished himself as a good manager for academies and youth teams.
Joins senior team
Despite having little experience at a senior level, the Irishman was in 2013 appointed as the interim coach for the Sierra Leon national team following the resignation of Swede international, Lars- Olaf Mattson following the country’s loss to Tunisia in the World Cup qualifiers.
At 23, McKinistry then broke the record to become the youngest active international head coach in world football.
He never disappointed because he guided the Sierra Leone national team to their highest ever FIFA ranking and he was subsequently given the job on a permanent basis that saw him steer the country halfway through the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifiers as head coach.
In September 2014, the Irishman never survived the guillotine when the Sierra Leone sports ministry sacked him after losing two Afcon qualifying games.
His team lost 2-1 to Ivory Coast after leading at half-time and they were later beaten by DRC but the defeats were greatly attributed to lack of preparations due to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the country that promoted a ban on matches in the country and prevented support staff from traveling.
Commenting about his sacking, the Irishman said he was disappointed because “we were” moving in the right direction.
After his sacking in September 2014, McKinstry never lost hope and in March 2015, he was appointed the new national team coach for Rwanda and to prove his worth, he guided the team to their first away win in four years when he beat Mozambique one-nil in his first game.
In December 2015, he guided Rwanda to the runners up position in the CECAFA cup after losing to Uganda in finals held in Ethiopia.
McKinstry was then voted by sponsors DSTV as the coach of the tournament and in 2016, he led Rwanda to the knock-out stages of a major competition for the first time in their history.
He guided the team to leading group A in the 2016 African Nations Championships(CHAN) and qualification to the quarter-finals where they were beaten by eventual winners DR Congo in a tournament held in Kigali.
This tremendous job earned him the trust of his bosses and his contract was extended for two years by the Rwanda Football Federation until 2018 .
Shortly after extending the contract for McKinstry, his team recorded their biggest ever win in Afcon when they beat Mauritius 5- 0 in Kigali.
He was sacked, five months after signing the new contract in August 2016.
Starts Club career
In July 2017, the Irishman joined Lithuanian top tier league club, Kauno Zalgiris as their head coach for the remainder of the season but he never extended his contract after its expiry in January 2018.
In November 2018, McKinstry joined Bangladesh Premier League side Saif SC replacing Englishman, Stewart Hall and early this year, he achieved another record of being the coach with the highest number of competitive victories for the club in its history.
In the 2018/19 season, he guided his team to set new club records for the most points in a league season, most wins in a league season and most goals scored before his contract was extended for another 12 months.
Second time applying for Cranes job
The Irishman was on Monday unveiled as the new coach for the Uganda national team and this was the second time he was applying for the Cranes job.
He was in 2017 one of the successful candidates for the job before it was given to French international, Sebastien Desabre.
McKinstry has now signed a three-year contract with FUFA.
Born Jonathan McKinstry on July 16, 1985, at Lisburn, Northern Ireland.
Sierra Leone- 2013-2014
Kauno Zalgiris- 2017-2018 (Lithuania)
2018-2019- Saif SC (Bangladesh”