KAMPALA –The challenges for the local soccer governing body – Fufa seem to be emerging from all corners. Days after Uganda Cranes’ players staged a ‘cold war’ with massive resignations from the national team; the head coach – Johnathan McKinstry has thrown in the towel – ending speculations that he had been sacked.
McKinstry – who took over as head coach from Sébastien Desabre in 2019, had just served a month-long suspension after Fufa requested him to stay away from the national team precincts, with two games of the 2021 Africa Nations’ Cup – Afcon Finals left on the card. McKinstry’s assistant – including Abdallah Mubiru and technical team took over but Uganda failed to qualify for a third consecutive Afcon finals, due in Cameroon next year.
Fufa confirmed in a statement circulated through its official website that the Northern Irish born had agreed to terminate his contract 18-months after taking over as The Cranes’ coach.
The decision to end ties with the Irish, 35 followed circulating rumours in various corridors indicating that officials at Mengo had fired Mckinstry.
Fufa’s press statement on McKinstry read: “The Head Coach of the Uganda Men’s National team, Johnathan McKinstry, has today reached an agreement with Fufa to bring an end to his 18 months at the helm of the Uganda Cranes.
“Fufa would like to thank Coach McKinstry and his staff for the work and dedication to developing the Uganda Cranes during their tenure.
“Coach McKinstry departs Uganda having won 2 in every 3 games played; recording a 67%-win rate from the 18 games he has overseen – including 12 wins, 3 draws and only 3 defeats.
“In addition to this, Coach McKinstry guided Uganda to victory in the Cecafa (Senior) Challenge Cup 2019 where Uganda won all of the games contested, for only the second time in their history.
“We would like to thank Coach McKinstry for the professionalism demonstrated during his employment with Fufa, and we wish him well in all his future endeavours.”
One of the ‘agents’ who scouted McKinstry from Kigali –Rwanda, revealed that both parties’ relationship had been on a collision path for some time.
“Whereas the coach had his work-plan on his fingertips; Fufa officials could hardly let him implement it – possibly because their hidden motives and rigidity,” revealed the source – who requested for anonymity.
It wasn’t readily established whether McKinstry and his (foreign) back-up staff had any outstanding debts with the federation or how issues of the remaining part of the contract would be handled.
It should be noted The Cranes return to competitive football in June when the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers resume. Uganda is pooled in Group E alongside Mali and neighbours Kenya and Rwanda.
Uganda’s desire to appear at the world’s greatest showpiece to be held in Qatar, will begin with a trip to Nairobi to face Harambe Stars between June 5 – 8; before hosting Mali around June 11 – 14.
The Cranes will then get involved in a double-header against Amavubi of Rwanda with the leg coming between September 1-4 in Kigali before a return in Kampala, three days, later.
The tight schedule means that Fufa has to sort out the mess – involving players and the coach at Mengo ahead of the planned fixture.