McKinstry reveals why he lost his transfer targets to Tusker, Bandari, AFC Leopards, and Police

New Gambia coach Johnathan McKinstry

McKinstry reveals why he lost his transfer targets to Tusker, Bandari, AFC Leopards, and Police

Mark Kinyanjui 17:32 - 29.06.2024

Outgoing Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry has admitted to losing prefered transfer targets to rivals like Tusker, Bandari and AFC Leopards due to a worrying concern.

Johnathan McKinstry, the outgoing Gor Mahia head coach, has opened up about the numerous challenges he faced in trying to sign his preferred transfer targets during his two-year tenure at the club.

 McKinstry’s contract, which expires at the end of June, will see him fully transition to his new role as head coach of the Gambia national team, a side he has already led in two matches.

Taking charge of Gor Mahia under difficult circumstances, McKinstry famously had to manage the club with just 18 players for the first six months due to a transfer embargo imposed by FIFA. 

This restriction was lifted in March 2023, allowing McKinstry to bolster the squad with new players who played pivotal roles in securing back-to-back trophies for the club.

However, financial difficulties continued to plague the club. Gor Mahia was eliminated from the CAF Champions League last season because they failed to settle dues owed to former player Sando Yangayay.

Despite these challenges, McKinstry noted that the club is slowly recovering its financial stability but still has a long way to go before it can attract top-tier players.

McKinstry highlighted that rival Kenyan teams, including AFC Leopards, Tusker, Bandari, and Kenya Police, have been able to offer better financial packages to players, making it difficult for Gor Mahia to compete in the transfer market. He emphasized that although the club is making progress, it is not yet back to the level it was 18 months ago.

“With the sponsors coming in and everything, we are getting back that healthy status of K’Ogalo but let us not kid ourselves. We are not back to the level we were 18 months ago,” McKinstry told Citizen TV.

 “There are players we have wanted to bring in over the last 18 months but been outbid by Tusker, Bandari, AFC Leopards, and Police. All these teams have been able to pay higher signing-on fees and salaries than K’Ogalo are currently able to pay.”

He stressed the need for patience and a step-by-step approach to rebuilding the club's financial stability. “Let us not think we are back to that level. It is coming, but it is a step-by-step process,” he concluded.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo has supported the club with grants, supplementing the funds they receive from their shirt sponsor SportPesa. Additionally, TV broadcasters Azam and KBC have also contributed to the financial stability of the club, aiding in its gradual recovery.

As McKinstry departs, he leaves behind a legacy of resilience and perseverance, having navigated Gor Mahia through challenging times and laying the groundwork for future stability and success.