A 38-year-old Northern Irish football manager, Johnathan McKinstry, has been appointed as the head coach of The Gambia Football national team.

He replaced Belgian national Tom Saintfiet who quits his role after a terrible Africa Cup of Nations championship in Ivory Coast.

McKinstry last managed a Kenyan Premier League club, Gor Mahia, before his appointment to the vacant Gambia coach position. 

A statement from the National Sports Council under the Ministry of Youth and Sports said “it is delighted to announce the appointment of a Senior National Football Team Coach, in the person of Mr. Johnathan McKinstry.”

“This decision followed a thorough recruitment and selection processes, 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 at first choice for the job – an offer he accepted.

“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 with international football rules. Early next week, the National Sports Council will sign a contract with Johnathan that will be effective 1st June 2024,” the statement added.

Mr McKinstry is tasked under the supervision of the Gambia Football Federation to 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 to the 2025 AFCON and provide coaching lessons for our local coaches.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba 

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