Sierra Leone National Team

Leone Stars training camp ahead of Swaziland Game on 31 May 2014 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]

Coach McKinstry and the Leone Stars are nearing completion of their pre-match training camp ahead of their AFCON qualifiers against Swaziland this weekend.

Ibrahim Kallay  [Training Camp ahead of Leone Stars v Swaziland Game on 31 May 2014 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]Coach McKinstry is looking forward to the home leg of the AFCON 2015 second round qualifier game this coming weekend against Swaziland.  The game will be played at the National Stadium in Freetown, Sierra Leone  (Saturday 31 May - 16:30 local, 17:30 BST, 16:30 GMT).

"We are very much looking forward to the game this weekend against Swaziland. We know after the first first leg exactly what we have to do having achieved a 1:1 result down in southern Africa."

Khalifa Jabbie and Michael Lahoud  [Training Camp ahead of Leone Stars v Swaziland Game on 31 May 2014 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]Asked to reflect on the logistical problems which impacted on the first leg, Coach McKinstry said:

"Going to Swaziland we were only able to have one training session with the team the day before the game and so that was naturally very difficult to get the team mentally and physically prepared for the game... here in freetown we will have four good days of training with the players.  Time spent on the training field is very important to developing our overall philosopy, team ethic and playing style"

With regards to the key steps that would be put in place this week, he said "Training camp this week will again be focused on our style of play - playing an attractive, free flowing game of football - but most importantly getting that win come Saturday afternoon"

On specific preparations for the return Swaziland encounter Coach McKinstry noted:

"Before travelling to Swaziland two weeks ago, we knew bits and pieces about our opponents, as there wasn't a plethora of info available [to review] ... now having seen them first hand, and taken them on in Manzini we know a lot more about them.. and we believe we have more than enough quality to get the required result come saturday"

Coach McKinstry speaking with Khalifa Jabbie and Sulaiman Sesay  [Training Camp ahead of Leone Stars v Swaziland Game on 31 May 2014 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]Coach McKinstry was bouyant about the Sierra Leone fans and what they could expect come saturday:

"Once again the Sierra Leone supporters will be coming out in their numbers.  Both they and the people listening in from abroad can expect another committed performance from the Leone Stars as we look to take another step towards Morocco 2015..."

On the prospects of the Leone Stars progressing futher in AFCON 2015 he was clear  -

"We have our eyes set on qualifying the Leone Stars for the Cup of Nations, for the first time in almost two decades, but first we have to make sure that we go past Swaziland in a professional and committed manner, and I'm certain we'll do that come Saturday..."



See the Video Interview:

Coach McKinstry shares his thoughts ahead of the return game against Swaziland

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Preparation Highlights 

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Notes to Editors

  1. The game is the second game (home leg) in the second round qualifier against Swaziland on 31 May 2014 as part of AFCON 2015.  The first game resulted in a 1:1 draw  
  2. You can read more about the AFCON 2015 tournament and the Leone Stars fixtures.
  3. Johnny McKinstry was appointed Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team on 11th April 2013.  You can read more about his time in charge of the Leone Stars
  4. See for a range of information - biography, press releases and photographs for press use.
  5. To arrange an email or telephone interview, please contact 

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You can read more about Coach McKinstry's:

About Coach McKinstry

Coach McKinstry is a UEFA Pro Licensed Football Coach.  As Head Coach of the Uganda National Team, the 'Uganda Cranes' (2019 - 2021) he delivered a WIN from 2 in every 3 games and went undefeated in over 8 in every 10 games played.  This represented the highest 'win' and 'undefeated' rate achieved by a Uganda National Team Coach in over 15 years.  In his first 3 months in charge, he had led Uganda to win CECAFA 2019; had put Uganda top of their AFCON qualification group; and secured 9 wins and 1 draw from his first 10 games.  In winning CECAFA 2019, Uganda did so by winning all six of their matches, only the second time in Uganda's history that they had done so by winning every game they played in the tournament.  In AFCON qualifiers, under his management Uganda were the only team of all 48 nations competing to have conceded zero goals from open play.

He was International Manager and Head Coach of the Rwanda National Football Team (2015-16). Within just 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. 

He was Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team (2013-14). 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 was Head Coach of Saif Sporting Club, Bangladesh Premier League (2018-19); and FK Kauno Zalgiris, Lithuanian A-Lyga (2017-18).  He is a European (UEFA), American (NSCAA) and university qualified football coach. 

Coach McKinstry is a member of 'Common Goal'. Together members seek to support high-impact organisations that harness the power of football to advance the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Quotes: What the media say

  • Under his management, the team played attractive football, scored goals and racked up some important results.

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    Eoin O'Callaghan
  • There is an almost missionary zeal to Johnny McKinstry's devotion to his job.

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    Daily Mirror
  • McKinstry has a voracious appetite for football and for learning, he lives and breathes it and his sense of adventure means predicting his next move is not easy.

    Read More
    Ben Smith BBC Sport
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