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Ex-Uganda Cranes players speak out on McKinstry’s suspension

Johnathan McKinstry in a training session with Cranes players. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ex-Uganda Cranes players have weighed in on the suspension of the national football team head coach Johnathan McKinstry. Early this week, the Federation of Uganda Football Association asked the Irish tactician to set aside from his duties for a month effective March 2.

The decision stemmed from the Uganda Cranes poor performance in its double fixture against South Sudan where Uganda lost in the second leg. The situation worsened when Uganda Cranes failed to register a single win in the African Nations Championship-CHAN and lost 5:2 to Morocco in the last game.

The Northern Irishman who took charge of the Uganda Cranes in September 2019, started his journey with a comfortable win over Ethiopia in a friendly game. He however registered his first test in the Afcon qualifiers against Burkina Faso which ended in a goalless draw. McKinstry dominated the CECAFA championship and scooped the tournament unbeaten with six wins.

In total, the Irishman has been in charge of the Cranes for 14 games. He has won nine, lost three and drawn two. Ex-international and football administrator Mujib Kasule says that he was not surprised with FUFA’s decision because of the last poor performance by the team. He says the coach made obvious errors in the last Afcon fixture against South Sudan that delayed Uganda’s qualification for Afcon finals.

McKinstry made tactical changes in the return leg against South Sudan where he opted for youngsters Karim Watambala and Alan Okello over experienced players like Mike Azira and Emmanuel Okwi. Former Uganda Cranes player and KCC FC legend Jackson Mayanja says that he wasn’t also surprised with McKinstry’s suspension.

He explains that a coach who fails to deliver results will always be in trouble.

FUFA replaced McKinstry with assistant Abdallah Mubiru who will be deputized by Livingstone Mbabazi and Fred Kajoba. Mujib Kasule welcomed the decision saying this is the time for FUFA to start trusting local coaches, saying they are more knowledgeable on Ugandan players.

Andy Lule, another ex-international says the changes made by FUFA might be good for the players.

This is not the first time Abdallah Mubiru is taking charge of the Uganda Cranes as interim head coach. Prior to the unveiling of McKinstry, FUFA assigned Mubiru caretaker role of the team. During his tenure as interim coach, Mubiru managed seven games, won four and drew 3.

What next for FUFA and McKinstry?

McKinstry who was unveiled in September was handed a three-year contract effective Oct 1st, 2019. This means his contact runs up to October 2022. The Federation will have no option but to compensate him should they opt to terminate his contract.

McKinstry’s games as Uganda Cranes boss

Uganda 1-0 Ethiopia (Friendly)

Burkina Faso 0-0 Uganda (AFCON Qualifiers)

Uganda 2-0 Malawi (AFCON Qualifiers)

Uganda 2-1 Burundi (CECAFA)

Somalia 0-2 Uganda (CECAFA)

Eritrea 0-2 Uganda (CECAFA)

Uganda 1-4 Djibouti (CECAFA)

Uganda 1-0 Tanzania (CECAFA)

Uganda 3-0 Eritrea (CECAFA)

Uganda 1-0 South Sudan (AFCON Qualifiers )

South Sudan 1-0 Uganda (AFCON Qualifiers)

Rwanda 0-0 Uganda (CHAN)

Uganda 1-2 Togo (CHAN)

Uganda 2-5 Morocco (CHAN)

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