Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry reveals how he will face Kenya after taking up new Gambia Job

New Gambia coach Johnathan McKinstry

Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry reveals how he will face Kenya after taking up new Gambia Job

Mark Kinyanjui 07:00 - 25.06.2024

Gambia are in the same group as the Harambee Stars in group F of the CAF 2026 World Cup qualifiers, and McKinstry has revealed how he will take the side on as the new Scorpions boss.

Outgoing Gor Mahia head coach Johnathan McKinstry has revealed how he will prepare his new Gambia side to take on the challenge of Kenya when both sides meet both home and away in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

McKinstry has already taken charge of two games for Gambia. He oversaw a 5-1 win over Seychelles, before being shocked 1-0 by Burundi in the recent World Cup qualifying matches that took place this month.

The Gambia sit fifth in Group F on three points, with Kenya fourth on five. Ivory Coast top the group with 10 points, with Gabon second on nine, while Burundi are third on seven points.

Gambia will host Kenya on 17 March 2025, before both sides face each other in the return leg in Nairobi on 1st September later that year.

Speaking on Citizen TV after he helped deliver a second consecutive league title for Gor Mahia, McKinstry has admitted that his knowledge of Kenyan football may give him an idea or two on how to counter the threat Engin Firat’s men will pose on his side.

“It gives me a head start. I don’t think it makes it easier because in international football, the nature of it is you know your opposition in and out,” McKinstry said.

“With club football, you have games every three to seven days, which is a small window. With Gambia, our next game is not till September. 

“You have enough time to prepare the team in terms of the analysis and the details, so in that sense, I get a head start, but we are expecting a competitive game.”

McKisntry hopes some of the Gor Mahia players he helped develop, including Geoffrey ‘Simiti’ Ochieng who appeared alongside him on the interview will play a role, a challenge he is looking forward to facing.

“We know that the Kenyan team is strong. I am expecting the likes of Geoffrey (Ochieng) to be on opposite sides. I am expecting two tough games but friendships will be set aside for those 90 minutes.”

Meanwhile, the Northern Irishman has explained why he decided to take the job up and leave K’Ogalo instead of guiding them through the CAF Champions league campaign next season.

“It’s just about opportunities.  The Gambia have been to the quarter finals of the AFCON recently. They want to go deeper in that. Some of my players will be transferring for 20-40 million dollars, which is money that can but the entire Kenyan Premier League.

“It is just about levels.”

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