Johnny McKinstry

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Johnathan McKinstry
Coach McKinstry with Rwanda National Team, Sept 2015.jpg
McKinstry in September 2015
Personal information
Date of birth (1985-07-16) 16 July 1985 (age 33)
Place of birth Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Teams managed
Years Team
2013–2014 Sierra Leone
2015–2016 Rwanda
2017–2018 Kauno Žalgiris
2018– Saif Sporting Club

Johnathan McKinstry (born 16 July 1985) is a Northern Irish UEFA Pro licensed football manager and the current Head Coach of Bangladesh Football Premier League team Saif Sporting Club. Previously McKinstry managed the Rwanda national team, the Sierra Leone national team,[1] and Kauno Žalgiris in the A Lyga. Whilst in charge of Sierra Leone, McKinstry was the youngest international manager in the world at 27 years old.[2]


McKinstry has coached in several countries; Northern Ireland, England, USA, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Lithuania. His early career was focused on elite youth development through roles with Newcastle United, New York Red Bulls, the Right to Dream Academy and the Craig Bellamy Foundation.[3]

In 2013 McKinstry moved into senior professional football when he was appointed manager of the Sierra Leone national football team, whom he guided to their highest ever FIFA World Ranking position.[4] He has more recently been manager of the Rwanda national football team guiding them to the Final of the 2015 CECAFA Cup and Quarter Finals of the 2016 African Nations Championship, and of Kauno Žalgiris of Lithuania's A_Lyga.[5]

In December 2017 McKinstry was shortlisted by the Ugandan FA for their national team manager position[6][7] and in April 2018 he was one of 77 applicants for the vacant Cameroon national team job.[8] It was also confirmed by officials of the Football Association of Zambia in June 2018 that McKinstry had made the final 2-man shortlist of candidates under consideration to be named Head Coach of the Zambia national football team.[9]

Sierra Leone National Team[edit]

On 11 April 2013, McKinstry was appointed as the manager of Sierra Leone following the resignation of Swedish coach Lars-Olof Mattsson,[10] becoming the youngest active international head coach in world football.[2] McKinstry spoke about his desire to be awarded the job on a permanent basis[11] and was subsequently retained as Head Coach for the 2015 CAF Nations Cup qualifiers.

Following defeats to Ivory Coast and DR Congo during a period when Sierra Leone were banned from playing fixtures at home because of the Ebola outbreak, he was sacked in September 2014.[12] He later spoke about his time in the country, including the 2014 Ebola outbreak.[13]

Under McKinstry's care the Sierra Leone team rose to their highest ever FIFA World Ranking position of 50th.[4]

Rwanda National Team[edit]

In March 2015 he was confirmed as the new Rwanda manager.[14] He stated he was looking forward to the challenge.[15]

In his first competitive game in charge, McKinstry guided Rwanda to their first away win in 4-years with a 1-0 victory over Mozambique in the opening round of 2017 African Nations Cup qualifying [16]

In December 2015, Rwanda finished as Runners-up in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup 2015, defeating hosts Ethiopia, reigning champions Kenya, and previous tournament runners-up Sudan en route the final before losing 1-0 to Uganda - the most successful team in the region, who claimed their 14th title. McKinstry was named as 'Coach of the Tournament' by sponsors DSTV.[17][18]

In January 2016, McKinstry led Rwanda to the knock-out stages of a major competition for the first time in their history[19] when he guided them to 1st place in Group A of the 2016 edition of the CAF African Nations Championship[20] and qualification for the Quarter Finals. Their progress was halted at this stage however by eventual Champions, DR Congo, following a 2-1 loss after extra time in Kigali.[21][22]

The results obtained in his first twelve months at the helm of Rwandan Football were recognised when in March 2016 the Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) rewarded McKinstry's efforts with a new two-year contract that would see him remain as Head Coach until 2018.[23]

Shortly after the extension of McKinstry's contract, Rwanda recorded their biggest ever win in the Africa Cup of Nations when they defeated Mauritius 5-0 in Kigali.

Despite having only signed a new contract five months earlier, McKinstry was dismissed as Head Coach in August 2016.[24] He left with a win ratio of 44% from his 25 games in charge. Talking after his sacking he told Oliver McManus that "It was a strange decision but people make these decisions in football and it can be a bit shocking at the time, you just need to dust yourself off and get onto the next challenge." [25]

Kauno Žalgiris[edit]

On 21 July 2017, Kauno Žalgiris announced McKinstry as their new head coach for the remainder of the 2017 A-Lyga season.[5]

McKinstry's first game in charge of his new club saw Kauno Žalgiris secure their first ever win over Jonava after 6 previous games with no success.[26]

Following the completion of his contract, McKinstry departed the club in January 2018. He cited the ongoing uncertainty regarding Kauno Žalgiris' league status[27] as a key factor in the decision between himself and the club to go their separate ways.[28]

Saif Sporting Club[edit]

On 7 November 2018, McKinstry was named as the new Head Coach of Bangladesh Premier League side Saif Sporting Club, replacing Englishman Stewart Hall[29]. McKinstry assumed control of the team from 10 November 2018 ahead of the 2018–19 Bangladesh Football Premier League season.

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 2 December 2018[30]
Nation Team From To P W D L GS GA %W Honours Notes
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone 11 April 2013 17 September 2014 8 3 2 3 10 10 037.50
Rwanda Rwanda 29 March 2015 18 August 2016 25 11 2 12 29 27 044.00 Silver Medal 2015 CECAFA Cup
Lithuania Kauno Žalgiris 21 July 2017 5 January 2018 12 1 3 8 9 28 008.33
Bangladesh Saif Sporting Club 10 November 2018 Present 1 1 0 0 1 0 100.00
Total 39 15 7 17 44 44 038.46



  1. ^ "British Coaches Abroad: Johnny McKinstry". Football365. 5 May 2014. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b "He managed Sierra Leone, now our Johnny McKinstry could take helm in Rwanda". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  3. ^ "Meet Johnny McKinstry, the Antrim guy who's managing Rwanda's international football team |". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  4. ^ a b (2014-09-02). "Leone Stars shine with purpose". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  5. ^ a b "„Kauno Žalgiris" turi naują vyriausiąjį trenerį". (in Lithuanian). A Lyga. 21 July 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Uganda Cranes: FUFA releases shortlist for coaching job - FUFA: Federation of Uganda Football Associations". FUFA: Federation of Uganda Football Associations. 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  7. ^ "Uganda FA releases a four-man shortlist for national team coach". BBC Sport. 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  8. ^ Oluwashina Okeleji (23 April 2018). "77 applicants for vacant Cameroon coaching position". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  9. ^ "FAZ Awaits Govt Response On Coach Payment". 27 June 2018.
  10. ^ Mohamed Fajah Barrie (11 April 2013). "Sierra Leone appoints Irish coach". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  11. ^ Mohamed Fajah Barrie (21 November 2013). "Johnny McKinstry targets permanent Sierra Leone job". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  12. ^ Mohamed Fajah Barrie (17 September 2014). "Sierra Leone sack Northern Irish coach Johnny McKinstry". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  13. ^ Ben Smith (19 December 2014). "Sierra Leone: How Ebola outbreak cost Johnny McKinstry his job". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  14. ^ "Johnny McKinstry on shortlist to be new Rwanda coach". BBC Sport. 2015-03-10. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  15. ^ "McKinstry relishes Rwanda challenge". BBC Sport. 2015-04-09. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  16. ^ Komugisha, Usher (2015-06-15). "Rwanda/Mozambique: Country Ends Four-Year Away Jinx in Afcon Qualifiers". The New Times (Kigali). Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  17. ^ a b "Uganda wins record 14th CECAFA title". The New Times | Rwanda. 2015-12-05. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  18. ^ a b "FERWAFA -Rwanda settle for second spot in Cecafa Challenge Cup". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  19. ^ "Amavubi seek to top Group A unbeaten". The New Times | Rwanda. 2016-01-23. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  20. ^ "Rwanda top Chan Group A". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  21. ^ "CHAN 2016: DR Congo beat Rwanda 2-1 in extra-time". BBC Sport. 2016. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  22. ^ "CHAN 2016: DR Congo are champions after victory over Mali". BBC Sport. 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  23. ^ "McKinstry extends Rwanda contract". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  24. ^ "Johnny Mckinstry 'surprised' after his sacking as Rwanda coach". BBC Sport. 2016-08-19. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  25. ^ "Exploring African football: Interview with Johnny McKinstry • Outside of the Boot". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  26. ^ "Kauno Žalgiris - Record against FK Lietava Jonava". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  27. ^ "A lygos neatsakyti klausimai". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  28. ^ McKinstry, Darren. "Coach McKinstry moves on from A-Lyga club FK Kauno Zalgiris -". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  29. ^ {{Cite web|url=}}
  30. ^ "Johnny McKinstry - Free".

External links[edit]