Coach McKinstry to lead Gambia National Team

Coach McKinstry appointed as Head Coach of Gambia Scorpions (25 May 2024). 

Coach McKinstry will lead the Gambia National Men's Football team, beginning with World Cup Qualifier games against the Seychelles and Gabon in early June 2024.

By mutual agreement, Coach McKinstry will also remain Head Coach of Gor Mahia (Kenya Premier League) until the end of the 2023-24 KPL season.

Coach McKinstry arrived in Gambia on 25 May, just one week after securing Gor Mahia the Kenyan Premier League title with 3 league games still left to play.  In his two years in charge of Gor Mahia he secured both KPL League titles, and won the 2023-24 FKF Charity Shield.  


Nairobi, Kenya. 25 Jun 2023. Johnathan MCKINSTRY on the technical bench during the game that secured Gor Mahia the 2022-23 KPL League title.
Credit: XtraTimeSports (Darren McKinstry) 


Speaking on the announcement of his appointment as Head Coach for Gambia, Coach McKinstry said:

"The opportunity to come and work with what is one of the fastest developing football nations in Africa is an exciting and challenging prospect.

The foundations that have been laid over the last 5 years through repeated qualification for the African Cup of Nations provide us with a platform to reach for even greater heights.

The current squad has a good age profile, with many of the players able and ready to push again for success on the field. However we also have a new generation of talent emerging – as was showcased in the recent U20 AFCON and U20 World Cup. We must oversee their integration into the senior set-up to ensure not only that their talent flourishes, but that it complements what is already in place.

For sure there is much work to be done, but with the support of the Federation, Staff, Players and the Gambian supporters, I am confident that there will be many happy days ahead."


Nairobi, Kenya. 01 Feb 2023. Coach McKinstry works with Gor Mahia players in training
Credit: XtraTimeSports (Darren McKinstry) 


With regards to Gor Mahia and his time there, Coach McKinstry said:

We are currently 11 points clear at the top of the Kenya Premier League and have secured the league title with 3 games still left to play.  I am grateful for the agreement of all parties to be able to see out the end of the season in Kenya with Gor Mahia players, staff and officials to again lift the KPL league trophy.

I would like to place on record my thanks to the Executive Committee of Gor Mahia for their tremendous support during our 2 years together. We came together in extremely difficult times for the club, but together we have forged a new path forward with a young and exciting team who have not only succeeded now, but who can continue to succeed in the years ahead.

I also want to pay tribute to all of my staff and players. You have worked tirelessly and followed my lead for the last 2 seasons. Without your commitment, enthusiasm and passion, none of what we have achieved together would have been possible. I will miss being at the training ground with you all , but I know we will remain close even if separated by distance.

And finally to the K'Ogalo fans. You have been the fuel that has powered us through both the good and the challenging times. Your love for the team is felt every week. You truly have been part of our journey, and because of that I will always feel part of the Gor Mahia family.


Nairobi, Kenya. 02 Feb 2023.  Coach McKinstry on the training field with Gor Mahia ahead of fixture against Nairobi City Stars, Kenyan Premier League.  Kasarani Stadium. Credit: XtraTimeSports (Darren McKinstry)Nairobi, Kenya. 02 Feb 2023. Coach McKinstry on the training field with Gor Mahia
Credit: XtraTimeSports (Darren McKinstry) 


You can read more about the challenges Coach McKinstry overcame to secure Gor Mahia the 2022-23 Kenyan Premier League title

For more information on Coach McKinstry's performance across a number of his roles to date, you can read 'REVIEW: 20 Years of Coaching - Highlights and Key Stats (March 2021)' or read more about his Expertise and Professional background


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About Coach McKinstry

Coach McKinstry is a UEFA Pro Licensed Football Coach, with a number of successes across his 20+ year career to date.    He is currently Head Coach of the Gambia National Team and Head Coach of Gor Mahia FC in Kenya (2022-24) where he won two Kenya Premier League titles (2023-24, 2022-23), and the 2023-24 Kenya Charity Shield, returning the club to the top of Kenyan football.

As Head Coach of the Uganda National Team, (2019 - 2021) he led Uganda to win CECAFA 2019 and delivered a win from 2 in every 3 games, going undefeated in 8 in evey 10 games.  This represented the highest 'win' and 'undefeated' rate achieved by a Uganda National Team Coach in over 15 years.

He was Head Coach of the Rwanda National Football Team (2015-16). Within 17 months he led Rwanda to a number of highs - including their first ever appearance in the knockout stages of a major international tournament (Quarter-finals of CHAN, Jan 2016) and finished runner-up in CECAFA (Dec 2105), being named 'Coach of the Tournament' for his efforts. 

Across 2013-14, he was Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team. Within just over a year, he had led Sierra Leone to their highest ever FIFA World and African rankings - 7th in Africa and 50th in the World (August 2014). 

He has also been Head Coach of Saif Sporting Club, Bangladesh Premier League (2018-19); and FK Kauno Zalgiris, Lithuanian A-Lyga (2017-18).   

Coach McKinstry is a European (UEFA), American (NSCAA) and university qualified football coach and a member of Common Goal.