Rwanda have appointed a 29-year-old Johnny McKinstry as their new national team coach. Johnny McKinstry was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland and previously managed the Sierra Leone national team. He began his career as the caretaker manager of the Sierra Leone national team in 2013 following the resignation of Swedish coach Lars-Olof Mattsson.
During his career at the team, he lost only one of the first six matches. However he was sacked following the defeats by ivory Coast and DR Congo in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers; only six months after he had been given the job on a permanent basis.
The national team management named the new coach on Friday (20/3) and McKinstry again becoming one of the youngest coaches in international soccer. At his new position, he is the successor to Englishman Stephen Constantine. Constantine quit his post in January to take over as manager of the India national team.
The Rwandan Football Association (FERWAFA) officially announced that the Irishman was also responsible for its under-20 and under-23 teams. His currently task is leading Rwanda in their qualification games for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, 2016 Olympics and the 2018 World Cup.
There are also other coaches in the running shortlist for the job were former Chelsea assistant Jose Morais, Turk Engin Firat and German Hans Michael Weiss. Morais, 49, worked as Jose Mourinho’s assistant at Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea before moving to Tunisian side Esperance. The 44-year-old Firait has extensive experience of working as assistant manager like in Germany, Turkey, and for Iranian side Saipa. While Weiss is also aged 49, is a former technical director of the Rwandan Football Federation and handler of the national under-20 side and has worked in Asia and in Romania.
And yet, the young Irishman is the one who is officially trusted to change the Rwanda’s future. Vincent Degaule Nzamwita, the president of Rwanda’s football body, revealed that the recruitment of the new young coach is part of the team’s efforts to reach the requirements for the upcoming competitions.
“We have started consultations with the new coach and he (McKinstry) has promised in return to make drastic changes in the national team’s style,” Nzamwita said. The drastic change that the coach promise will include the fact that the tiny East African nation has never made it to the World Cup and only qualified once for the African Cup of Nations in 2004.