Gor Mahia coach McKinstry praises team's progress in friendlies ahead of Murang'a Seal clash

Gor Mahia coach McKinstry praises team's progress in friendlies ahead of Murang'a Seal clash

Festus Chuma 10:04 - 28.04.2024

Gor Mahia coach McKinstry optimized the squad in friendlies against Ulinzi Stars as part of preparations for the crucial Murang'a Seal match.

Gor Mahia FC head coach Jonathan McKinstry has expressed satisfaction with his team’s performance in their recent friendly matches against Ulinzi Stars as they prepare for an upcoming critical match against Murang'a Seal in the FKF Premier League.

The matches, which took place on Saturday at the Mpesa Foundation Academy, were a part of the team's preparations and allowed McKinstry to assess various players ahead of the next weekend's game.

The friendly encounter saw Gor Mahia's first team securing a 2-1 victory with goals from Ronney Onyango and Christopher Ochieng', while the second team was held to a 2-2 draw. 

Reflecting on the matches, McKinstry highlighted the strong start by his team, particularly in the first game.

 "So I thought overall we played really good football, especially in the first game. Probably in the first 15 minutes our opponents were thinking, you know, they'd forgotten what the ball looked like in the first 15 minutes because we really didn't give them a lot of it," he stated after Ulinzi Stars clash.

The Irishman also noted the competitive nature of the games and the benefits they bring, especially during a week without league matches. 

"It was a good competitive game. We always know it is when Coach Modo (Antony Kimani) and Ulinzi come and we play them. And it helps keep us ticking over when we've got this empty week, leading into the Murang'a Seals game next week and have now sort of they're well on the road to recovery," he added.

In addition to assessing team tactics and performance, the friendlies served as a crucial period for players recovering from injuries. 

Key players such as Emery Bayisenge and Patrick Kadu received significant playing time, which McKinstry believes is essential for their recovery. 

"Sort of everyone got minutes today, you know, obviously Philamon's been out for a little while, he got 15, 20 minutes today. Emery Bayisenge, Patrick Kadu all got sort of 45, 60 minutes today. So we're pleased that all of the guys that had little knocks or even longer-term injuries are well on the road to full recovery," McKinstry noted.

With FKF Premier League action set to resume on Saturday against Murang'a Seal at SportPesa Arena, McKinstry emphasized the importance of maintaining focus and not underestimating any opponent, despite leading the league by nine points.

 "But we also know that we've got to be wary because if we are too confident or if we don't focus enough going into any of these games, starting with Muranga Seal, that they can punish us. They're a good football team. Their venue there is a great field, which we're looking forward to playing on," he explained.

After the goalless draw in the first leg match against Murang'a Seal five months ago at Kasarani, the upcoming game is anticipated with much interest. 

The team is set to have a couple of days off before returning to a rigorous four-day preparation schedule ahead of their next match which will be played away at SportPesa Arena on May 4, 2024. 

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