Gor Mahia defender reveals Johnathan McKinstry's qualities that will be music to Gambia fans' ears

New Gambia coach Johnathan McKinstry

Gor Mahia defender reveals Johnathan McKinstry's qualities that will be music to Gambia fans' ears

Mark Kinyanjui 12:00 - 09.06.2024

The experienced defender has revealed the qualities about Johnathan McKinstry that he thinks could make him a success for the Gambia.

Gor Mahia defender Kennedy ‘Vidic’ Onyango has shed light on the qualities of Johnathan McKinstry that will resonate with the Gambia national team supporters. 

McKinstry began his tenure as Gambia's head coach with an impressive 5-1 victory over Seychelles in a Group F 2026 World Cup qualifier.

The Northern Irish coach is set to return to oversee Gor Mahia’s final three matches of the season before leaving the club permanently. 

McKinstry's impact on the 21-time league champions has been transformative, and he now faces the challenge of revitalising the Gambia's World Cup campaign and securing qualification for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations.

Last season, he clinched the league title on the final day with a 4-1 win over Nairobi City Stars. This season, he has outdone himself, securing the league title with three games to spare.

Onyango revealed McKinstry’s personal qualities that could help the Gambia progress. 

“He is a gentleman par excellence. He is very calm. I never heard him shout at anyone. He also loved team unity. We are sad that he is leaving, but we will have to move on,” Onyango said, as quoted by Mozzart Sport.

The defender also highlighted McKinstry's unique approach to team bonding, noting, “He bought us Nyama Choma occasionally. Tell me which coach in the league you’ve heard has taken 30 players for lunch because they performed the way he wanted.”

Onyango praised McKinstry's professional attributes, emphasising his comprehensive football knowledge and meticulous preparation.

 “His football knowledge is very high. He did his due diligence and researched well on opponents, so we were never caught unawares. After analysis, he would give us the best way to approach the match, and more often than not, we won," said Onyango.

According to Onyango, the players appreciated McKinstry's training methods, which they found impactful, effective, and enjoyable, akin to those used in Europe. 

Despite facing some fan criticism last season and parts of this campaign when results were not favourable, McKinstry maintained his composure and focus. Once the team found its rhythm, goals and victories followed. 

Onyango explained, “As a team, even when voices out there were criticising the coach, he had our full backing because results showed otherwise. We knew who he is and how he wanted us to play.”

“We will miss him, and we wish him all the best in his career.”