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Gambia Appoints New Coach: Johnathan McKinstry Replaces Tom Sainfiet as Scorpions’ Head Coach

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Johnathan McKinstry, New head coach for the Scorpions

By Landing Ceesay 

The National Sports Council (NSC) of the Gambia, under the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has announced the appointment of Johnathan McKinstry as the new Head Coach of the Senior National Football Team, succeeding Tom Sainfiet.

“This decision followed a thorough recruitment and selection process, during which the Ministry, through the National Sports Council, collaborated with the Gambia Football Federation’s Technical and Development Committee to shortlist and interview five from a poll of 90 applicants. This was further dropped to three competitive coaches, where Mr. McKinstry was the most rated and therefore placed as the first choice for the job, an offer he accepted,”  the NSC announced.

The general public is informed that Johnathan McKinstry has been appointed on a two-year contract by the Ministry of Youth and Sports under terms and conditions compliant with international football standards. The contract will be signed early next week and will take effect on June 1, 2024.

“In this regard, the general public is hereby informed that Johnathan Mckinstry has been appointed on two years contract by the Ministry of Youth and Sports on agreed terms and conditions akin to international football rules. Early next week, the National Sports Council will sign a contract with Johnathan that will be effective 1st June 2024,” NSC announced. 

Johnathan McKinstry, a Northern Irish UEFA Pro License coach, brings nearly two decades of experience developing teams, players, and staff across Asia and Africa. He has a proven track record of elevating performance at the elite level.

Under the supervision of the Gambia Football Federation, Coach McKinstry’s responsibilities include monitoring the progress of foreign-based players, providing regular updates to the GFF, scouting players for the national teams, and providing coaching lessons for local coaches. He is also tasked with qualifying the Senior Scorpions for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

“As part of his tasks under the supervision of the Gambia Football Federation, Coach Jonathan is expected to, among other deliverables: Monitor the progress of our foreign-based players and give regular updates to the GFF; Scout players for inclusion in the national teams; Qualify the Senior scorpions for the 2025 AFCON; Provide coaching lessons for our local coaches,” the NSC stated. 

McKinstry replaces Tom Sainfiet, who managed the Scorpions from 2018 to 2024. During his tenure, Sainfiet led Gambia to its first-ever Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon in 2021 and its second appearance in the tournament in Ivory Coast in 2023.

The Gambia Football Authorities have included a clause in McKinstry’s contract requiring him to qualify Gambia for its third Africa Cup of Nations in 2025.

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