Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Rwanda lead the race for wanted man Johnny McKinstry

By Steven Beacom

Lisburn native Johnny McKinstry is weighing up offers to coach in THREE continents with the Rwanda national team leading the chase for his services.

McKinstry made headlines across the globe a couple of years ago when, aged just 27, he took over as manager of Sierra Leone becoming the youngest boss in international football. He believes that experience will benefit him in his next job.

The former Wallace High school pupil will make a decision by the end of the week with contracts on the table from Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The 29-year-old told the Belfast Telegraph: "There are three offers that I'm considering and negotiations are ongoing. All are very good options and the packages are similar. Thankfully it will come down to a footballing decision."

Rwanda Football Association president Vincent 'Degaule' Nzamwita has admitted he wants the Ulsterman, who impressed with Sierra Leone before he was controversially sacked last year despite taking them to 50th in the Fifa rankings - their highest placing ever.

But for an Ebola outbreak in the country, which forced Sierra Leone to play fixtures away from home, they may have reached the 2015 African Cup of Nations.

"Managing Sierra Leone was a hugely useful experience," explained McKinstry.

"It was a very enjoyable role but it wasn't without its challenges. There were a lot of logistical issues and the Ebola outbreak which meant we couldn't play at home.

"I can't imagine taking on another job in my career that will present as difficult a challenge away from the pitch. Despite all that we had success."

Some may suggest if he chooses Rwanda, it'll be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

McKinstry, who this week enjoyed an enlightening discussion on coaching with Everton boss Roberto Martinez, disagrees. He says: "Anyone I've spoken to who has been to Rwanda or worked there speaks highly of it.

"They have had their problems in the past. Like Sierra Leone their civil disturbances were 15 or 20 years ago but unfortunately that's what the movies are made about so people think trouble is still going on today, whereas the country has moved on significantly."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph