Around 9 pm last night, the news of Johnathan McKinstry being given a time out by FUFA for a month had reached the Twitter streets in high gear with many throwing puns and suggestive comments about the way the situation was handled.
It’s now clear and confirmed that McKinstry has been suspended as Uganda Cranes coach, and according to reports, he has been asked to step aside for a month by FUFA as they assess his contribution to the team. Talk about being savage.
Surprisingly, the sacking of McKinstry comes a day after the Hippos qualified for the finals in the under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), beating Tunisia 4-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott on Monday, which only put the Irish coach in the spotlight as people bombarded his Twitter asking him what he has to show for or offer the Cranes and continuously asked for his sacking. Well, what a coincidence. It actually happened.
It has been less than two years for McKinstry after taking the job from Frenchman Sebastian Desabre, who faced the same fate after two years in service for the Uganda Cranes team from 2017-19.
According to a statement released by FUFA, the football body asked the Northern Irishman “to step aside” just a few weeks before the national team resume their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with a home tie against group B leaders Burkina Faso.
“The Fufa executive committee has asked the Head Coach of the National Senior side-The Uganda Cranes Mr Johnathan McKinstry to step aside from managing and coaching the team for the period from 2nd- 31st March 2021,” the statement reads in part
“In the meantime assistant Coaches Mr Mubiru Abdallah, Mr Mbabazi Livingstone and goalkeeping coach Mr Kajoba Fred will take charge of the team during this period. The rest of the Technical team remains unchanged.
“Fufa will use the period to assess and monitor the performance of the team,” the statement ends.
Johnathan McKinstry faces a tough road ahead of him
Ever since the loss to South Sudan, which ended in a 1-0 defeat, McKinstry’s position as a coach at the Uganda Cranes has been like walking on thin ice more so after the team suffered a similar loss to neighbours Kenya.
The two losses left Uganda second in Group E on seven points, one behind Burkina Faso. Malawi have four and South Sudan three which leaves the group-wide open ahead of the final two qualifying fixtures.
Aside from that, the team’s performance at the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN), only aggravated the situation further which left many questioning the Irish man’s ability to lead the team to victory. The Uganda Cranes lost two of their three group games to exit the tournament.
McKinsrty’s record reads 12 wins, three wins and three losses in 18 games so far. Cranes face Burkina Faso at home on March 22 and a visit to Malawi on March 30 to wrap up Group B in the 2022 Afcon Qualifiers.
Meanwhile, the Uganda U20 National team, coached by Morley Byekwaso, face Ghana in Saturday’s final and are now closer to the $200,000 (Sh740M) winning cash prize promised by soccer governing body FUFA if they win the tournament.
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