Coach McKinstry

OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT: Coach McKinstry welcomes FIFA ruling that termination of his contract as Head Coach of the Rwanda National Soccer Team was 'without just cause' (27 April 2019).

Welcoming Rwanda's intention to comply with FIFA's decision Coach McKinstry said:

"While it has taken some time, I welcome FERWAFA's intention to now comply with the FIFA ruling and pay in full the compensation owed to me for breach of contract.
This follows on from the 2018 finding by FIFA that the termination of my contract was without just cause.
I also welcome that, if FERWAFA comply now without further delay, Rwandan teams, players and match officials will not be subject to FIFA sanctions.
Given the results we delivered, I was surprised and disappointed by FERWAFA's decision in 2016 to terminate my contract as Head Coach of the Rwanda National Team. We had rebuilt a team following the move to no longer use naturalised foreign born players, and in just 17 months not only delivered Rwanda's best ever performance in a major FIFA/CAF tournament, but also matched or exceeded almost all past Rwandan performances in CECAFA.
Leading Rwanda to their best ever tournament performance - the last eight of the CAF Nations Championship 2016 - is naturally the stand out moment for me; but also that our CAF Nations Cup and CECAFA Challenge Cup performances have each only been bettered once before by any Rwandan team in history.
Being named 'Coach of the Tournament' for leading the team to the final of the CECAFA Challenge Cup also underlined the good progress the team were making as a result of our work together.
I continue to look back on my time as Head Coach of Rwanda with fondness and pride. It was my honour to work with talented players and to meet dedicated fans."

 Coach McKinstry quote

Notes to Editors

Summary of Timeline:

  • Coach McKinstry was first appointed as Head Coach of the Rwanda National team in March 2015.  
  • In March 2016, he was re-appointed on a further 2 year contract as Head Coach of the Rwanda National team, after a strong first year in charge.
  • In just 17 months under his leadership as Head Coach, the Rwanda National team achieved a number of performance milestones - in a number of cases exceeding or setting new benchmarks for Rwandan football (see information further below).
  • Despite this, in August 2016, just a few months after his re-appointment, FERWAFA terminated his contract.
  • The matter was referred to FIFA who in April 2018 concluded, following a consideration of the facts, that the termination of Coach McKinstry's contract by FERWAFA was 'without just cause'
  • FERWAFA were ordered by FIFA to pay Coach McKinstry compensation for breach of contract. The amount to be paid was to reflect lost salary, expenses, and interest.
  • In March 2019, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee applied a further fine on FERWAFA, as a result of FERWAFA's failure to comply with FIFA's April 2018 decision. FIFA also applied a further and final deadline of 30 days on FERWAFA to settle its Debts to Coach McKinstry and to FIFA, or to risk sanctions which might include expulsions from FIFA competitions.
  • In April 2019, FERWAFA indicated its intention to settle debts owing to FIFA and Coach McKinstry.

CAF Nations Cup (AFCON):

  • At time of the termination of Coach McKinstry's contract, Rwanda were 2nd in Group H (with 6 points) behind group winners Ghana with 1 game left to play.
  • Not only was this exceeding their Group H seeding (they were drawn as 3rd seeds in the group), but performance under his leadership matched or exceeded that achieved in ALL of Rwanda's past AFCON final qualification phases with the exception of 2004 (when Rwanda qualified with 7 points).
  • In their AFCON qualifying group, Rwanda, under his leadership established new benchmarks. They:
    • recorded their first competitive away victory, after four years without a competitive away win (1-0 vs. Mozambique); and
    • registered their biggest ever victory in a FIFA / AFCON qualifying match (5-0 vs. Mauritius)

CAF Nations Championship (CHAN):

CECAFA Challenge Cup:

  • In December 2015, under his leadership, Rwanda finished as Runners-up at the 2015 CECAFA Challenge Cup
  • This matches or exceeds the performance achieved in all past CECAFA Challenge Cup competitions with the exception of 1999 (when a Rwanda 'B' team won the competition as hosts)
  • En-route to the final Rwanda defeated hosts Ethiopia, reigning champions Kenya, and the previous competition Runners-up, Sudan
  • Coach McKinstry was awarded 'Coach of the Tournament' for his efforts.


  • These milestones are all the more impressive given the decisions by the relevant authorities just before his arrival to cease the practice of using ‘naturalised players’ for the Rwanda National Football Senior Team - fundamentally changing the player pool that had formed the core of the squad until that point.


For more details of Coach McKinstry's time with the Rwanda national team see

Coach McKinstry is currently Head Coach of Saif Sporting Club Limted in the Bangladesh Premier league team.  Prior to being Head Coach of the Rwanda National Team, Coach McKinstry was Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Football team. Within just 16 months (August 2014) Coach McKinstry had led Sierra Leone to their highest ever FIFA World and CAF/African rankings - 7th in Africa and 50th in the World - both well above their lowest ever ranking of 172 in 2007, an achievement hailed by as "remarkable".


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About Coach McKinstry

Coach McKinstry is a UEFA Pro Licensed Football Coach, with a number of successes across his 20+ year career to date.    He is currently Head Coach of Gor Mahia FC in Kenya

As Head Coach of the Uganda National Team, the 'Uganda Cranes' (2019 - 2021) he led Uganda to win CECAFA 2019 and over his tenure delivered a WIN from 2 in every 3 games, going undefeated in over 8 in every 10 games played.  This represented the highest 'win' and 'undefeated' rate achieved by a Uganda National Team Coach in over 15 years.

He was International Manager and Head Coach of the Rwanda National Football Team (2015-16). Within just 17 months he led Rwanda to a number of highs - including their first ever appearance in the knockout stages of a major international tournament (Quarter-finals of CHAN, Jan 2016) and finished runner-up in CECAFA (Dec 2105), being named 'Coach of the Tournament' for his efforts. 

Across 2013-14, he was Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team. Within just over a year, he had led Sierra Leone to their highest ever FIFA World and African rankings - 7th in Africa and 50th in the World (August 2014). 

He has also been Head Coach of Saif Sporting Club, Bangladesh Premier League (2018-19); and FK Kauno Zalgiris, Lithuanian A-Lyga (2017-18).  He is a European (UEFA), American (NSCAA) and university qualified football coach. 

Coach McKinstry is a member of 'Common Goal'. Together members seek to support high-impact organisations that harness the power of football to advance the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Quotes: What the media say

  • Very few 29-year-olds have managed a national football team. None have done it while that country is being brought to its knees by Ebola.

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    Ben Smith BBC Sport
  • Under his management, the team played attractive football, scored goals and racked up some important results.

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    Eoin O'Callaghan
  • If one day, McKinstry reaches the very pinnacle of the game, few could begrudge him his day in the sun... no one could say he hasn’t earned it.

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    Daily Mirror
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