Mckinstry replaces Saintfiet as Gambia coach

Johnathan McKinstry has been appointed the new head coach of the Gambian national football team, the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) announced.

The 38-year-old from Northern Ireland will lead the “Scorpions” for the next two years, with a primary objective of securing qualification for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

McKinstry brings a wealth of African football experience to the role. He previously managed national teams in Sierra Leone (2013), Rwanda (2015-2016), and Uganda (2019-2021).

His most recent stint was with Kenyan club side Gor Mahia (2022-2024).

He fills the vacancy left by Belgian Tom Saintfiet, who stepped down in January after five successful years with the Gambian team.

Saintfiet’s tenure culminated in a historic achievement, guiding the Scorpions to their first-ever AFCON appearance in 2022, where they reached the quarter-finals.

The Gambian National Sports Council expressed their confidence in McKinstry’s abilities, highlighting the rigorous selection process that saw him emerge from a pool of 90 initial applicants.

McKinstry’s immediate challenge will be to build upon Saintfiet’s legacy and maintain the upward trajectory of Gambian football.

His experience and familiarity with the African football landscape make him a strong contender to lead the Scorpions to further success, including qualification for the 2025 AFCON.

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