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McKinstry looking forward to coaching his agemates

Cranes coach Johnathan McKinstry (R) in a brief talks to Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G Somasekhar at the company head offices in Kampala on Tuesday October 1st, 2019 / Courtesy Images

New Uganda Cranes coach Johnathan McKinstry is just 34 years old, and the chances of him coaching players his age or even older than him are quite high especially in Uganda’s football setting.

However, that has never been a problem for a man whose international coaching career started at the age of 27 as he was named head coach of the Sierra Leone national team.

“When I took over at Sierra Leone, I was 27 years, I was the youngest manager in international football,” McKinstry said at his official unveiling on September 30th at the FUFA House in Mengo.

“I had players who were playing for the likes AC Milan, Norwich City, Rangers, Middlesbrough, and Celtic.”

“They were all old men and they probably thought when they came into training camp, who is this 27-year old that is going to be the manager of the national team.”

“And I can understand, if you are coming from AC Milan where you have been training with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Genaro Gatusso and you come for national duty, and you are presented with a young a coach, you are not sure if it will work.”

“But we came together, we worked and we moved the team forward, it was genuinely never a problem,” he added.

According to documentations, Cranes captain Denis Onyango is 34 years old, actually the skipper is actually 30 days older than McKinstry since he was born on May 15th, 1985 while the latter was born on July 16th, 1985.

“Once the media, the federation, and players start working with me, some of you will say, ‘I think he is 54 and not 34’ in terms of how I deal with things.”

“It won’t be a problem really, I have quite a strong personality and those who know me will attest to, and I don’t see any issues. Once I get to know the players, ask me after a couple of months and I will tell you,” he noted.

McKinstry’s first game in charge is most likely to be the 2020 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) second leg qualifier against Burundi if there is no friendly lined up in the upcoming international break.

Cranes lead the tie 3-0 on aggregate and are 90 minutes away from qualifying for their fifth straight CHAN finals which will be hosted in Cameroon in January 2020.

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