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Ministry Of Youth & Sports Introduces New Head Coach For Scorpions

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Johnathan McKinstry, the New Coach of the Gambia

By Buba Gagigo

The Ministry of Youth and Sports introduced Johnathan McKinstry as the new head coach of the Gambia on Monday, following Tom Saintfiet’s resignation.

The introduction ceremony, was graced by notable figures including the Minister of Youth and Sports, Bakary Y. Badjie, and the President of the Gambia Football Federation, Lamin Kabba Bajo, among others.

Speaking to the press after signing a two-year contract, McKinstry emphasized his commitment to progress:

“For me, there is only one direction we are going, and that is forward. That is not just as a nation. It is as a federation, as a government and as a Sports Council. It’s as a team in terms of our mentality about the game forward. We want to go forward every step, we want to take is forward. Every level that we achieve is forward. And the other thing is that, to do that to move forward, the only way we can do that is to do it together. And so for me and my team of technical staff at the Federation, the players, that will be our strapline every day we come to work. We are going forward, and we are doing it together. And I invite the media, I invite the supporters, I invite the general public of the Gambia both here in the country and the diaspora around the world to join us on that journey as we move forward. Together,” the new coach said.

The official signing ceremony took place at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi, where the atmosphere was filled with excitement. McKinstry’s introduction as the head coach marked a new chapter of ambition and promise for the National Scorpions.

Johnathan McKinstry, a 38-year-old Northern Irishman, has made significant strides in international football management. Before his appointment as the Scorpions’ coach, he managed Kenyan Premier League club Gor Mahia.

McKinstry’s career highlights include becoming the youngest international manager at age 27 when he led the Sierra Leone national team in 2013, guiding them to their highest-ever FIFA World Ranking. He also led the Rwanda national team to the finals of the 2015 CECAFA Cup and the quarter-finals of the 2016 African Nations Championship.

His career includes stints with Lithuania’s Kauno Žalgiris, Bangladesh’s Saif SC, and Uganda’s national team, where he achieved a 67% win rate, the highest for a Uganda national team coach in 15 years, and led Uganda to win the 2019 CECAFA Cup.

In July 2022, McKinstry took over as the coach of Gor Mahia FC in Kenya, leading them to the Kenyan Premier League title in his first season. He repeated this success by winning the League Cup in the 2023-24 season before joining The Gambia.

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