The McKinstry fallout, Mubiru and what next

Monday March 08 2021

Andrew Mwanghuya

By Andrew Mwanguhya

With just a point from two final Afcon qualifying games against Burkina Faso and Malawi, Uganda could potentially secure their third consecutive Afcon finals.

That is why ‘sacking’ Cranes coach Johnny McKinstry last week was a naughty extra curricular activity by Fufa. And the 35-year-old will feel much as hard-done. 

McKinstry won the customary Cecafa in 2019, albeit hardly a yardstick to judge a Cranes coach. Then came 2020 and coronavirus, and only two qualifying games against South Sudan, in which he won one and lost the other, were played.

Fufa executive and a section of Ugandans felt there was little promise from those displays. But with Chan calling, Fufa will have hoped for better ahead of Afcon. However, it was a forgettable outing in Cameroon as the Cranes humiliatingly crashed out. 

Since then, Fufa – who believe McKinstry got the best preparations for Afcon with the Dubai camp – have been mulling over what next. Talk at Mengo is, after Chan, they feared McKinstry could fail to qualify for Afcon.

And - partly; given the seeming goodwill from some Ugandans towards a local coach, they decided to ride the wave.


McKinstry’s assistant Abdallah Mubiru and the returning Fred Kajoba have since been asked to steer the ship.

My sources say McKinstry had lost a section of the dressing room. Some old hands that have not been starting games are said to have allied with some of McKinstry’s local coaching staff to undermine him. 

Hard to un-see the politics. Either way, Fufa president Moses Magogo will score some points. Of course, should Uganda fail to qualify, Fufa’s call will have horribly backfired. Yet Magogo will still say “I gave you local coaches a chance and you failed to grab it.” 

And should Mubiru do the job, then Magogo will be that ‘hero’ who gave them a modern day breakthrough.

For now, Fufa and the government have to see to it that the ‘suspended’ coach prematurely ends his stay without having to involve Fifa.

McKinstry’s contract ends September 2022, and the reason they didn’t announce him as ‘sacked’ is because the government, which pays him, has to first agree to clear his entire wages.