Sierra Leone National Team

Alhassan 'Crespo' Kamara and team mates warm up in training [Training Camp, in advance of Equatorial Guinea, Sept 2013 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]

Northern Irish Man, Johnny McKinstry, prepares to lead Sierra Leone National soccer team into their final world cup qualifier against Equatoral Guinea (7 September 2013)

 

Solomon Zombo Morris  [Leone Stars Training Camp, in advance of Equatorial Guinea game, Sept 2013 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]In May 2013 Sierra Leone appointed the then 27 year old Northern Irish man Johnny McKinstry as national soccer coach of the Leone Stars.  This saturday (7 Sept) Coach McKinstry will lead the Leone Stars into their final world cup qualifier, against Equatorial Guinea.

Speaking ahead of the game Coach McKinstry said "We have prepared well. We have had a strong team dynamic in training and the team have been able to build on some of the new approaches introduced when I took over earlier this year"

Asked about the Equatorial Guinea game this Saturday Coach McKinstry stated

"It is good to have the squad back together in Freetown for our final qualification game.  Obviously we are no longer in a position to qualify for the World Cup, but make no doubt about it, the supporters here in Freetown will expect a performance and a result at home this weekend."  

"We are looking forward to the game, and to taking on Equatorial Guinea in front of a strong home crowd.  Our theme this week with the squad, and moving forward is one of ‘winning is a habit’, and that is something that we are committed to starting to do this week.  We are focused on finishing this qualifying series on a high, and look forward to a successful 2014."

As with his first two games in charge in June, he has continued to bring new talent into the squad - this time calling into the squad uncapped players Michael Lahoud (MLS - Philadelphia Union) and defender Hassan 'Milla' Sesay (MYPA, Finland). He has also recalled new faces from the summer games - including Sam Bangura, Abdulai Bell-Baggie (Tranmere) and George Davies (FC Johansen), John Trye (USA) and Solomon 'Zombo' Morris (France).
 

Michael Lahoud  [Leone Stars Training Camp, in advance of Equatorial Guinea, Sept 2013 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]"It is vital that we continue to develop the talent available to the Sierra Leone national team. Central to my approach since taking over has been seeking to identify new talent that can reinforce the considerable qualities already in the national team.

This is a vital part of our long term preparations, including the 2014 qualifiers for the next African Cup of Nations" said Coach McKinstry.

Reflecting on qualification for the World cup and the upcoming African Cup of Nations, Coach McKinstry said "My contract was initially for these final three world cup qualification games but I have always taken a long term approach and this is reflected in seeking to bring in, test and develop new talent as well as seeking to develop a clear playing style for the team that will allow them to build and advance.

I hope that the Ministry of Sport, the SLFA and the fans will consider that I have shown, even in a few short months, the clear potential in the national team."

 

ENDS.

 

Preparation Highlights

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Notes to Editors

  1. The game this weekend (7 September 2013) will be Sierra Leone's final World Cup 2013 Qualifier against Equatoral Guinea.
  2. The game is the third in charge for Coach McKinstry who was appointed in April 2013.
  3. See www.johnnymckinstry.com for a range of information - biography, press releases and photographs for press use
  4. To arrange an email or telephone interview, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Quotes: What the media say

  • Johnny McKinstry is one of the most intelligent, level-headed and knowledgeable managers in the game today. Few can match his achievements by the age of 30, and fewer still the success he has enjoyed in the game.

    Read More
    These Football Times
  • McKinstry led the team to their highest ever placing in the FIFA world rankings. They broke into the top 50, ahead of his native Northern Ireland.

    Read More
    Damien Edgar Backpage Football
  • McKinstry made an impressive start, losing just one of his first six matches and leading Sierra Leone into the top 50 of Fifa's world rankings, above Northern Ireland, the Republic, Cameroon and Senegal.

    Read More
    Ben Smith BBC Sport
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