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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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New era in football as Coach McKinstry takes over

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By Lamin Cham

New Gambia coach Johnathan McKinstry has spoken of his desire to tap on the success already achieved in Gambian football to insert his style and approach using both the present crop of players and the new ones coming from the age categories.

Speaking at his unveiling yesterday, the 38-year-old from Northern Ireland said there will be a little bit of evolution of style with the team but the primary objective remains “we want to go further, improve and of course win matches”.

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He said his biggest asset is adaptability which has served him very well in all the countries he had worked in and will hopefully help him settle in his new job.

”It makes me learn fast, more flexible to incorporate myself into the local culture and DNA as well gradually bring on board my standards,” he told the assembled press corp at the Independence Stadium yesterday.

The coach warned that much as young generation is very much desired and ideal for any team, it is important not to overlook the already reliable and established players who have been successful for the Gambia in the last five years who themselves are in their peak period. 

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“The younger ones must fight for the shirt of the experienced ones. It is a difficult decision for any coach but for more it’s performance that matters and international matches are like a jigsaw puzzle. You must  get the right element for the right assignment at the right time to get the kind of picture you want.  There might always be a good element there but does it fit in this particular puzzle?”  McKinstry highlighted.

On his immediate task, facing Seychelles and Gabon in the World Cup qualifiers, the new coach said he has been touch with the majority of players already trying to share the approach to these games.

On the composition of his technical staff, McKinstry said it is going to be a mixture of local and foreign staff.

“For me it is about the capacity to do the job. If capable people are in the country we will always try and build it up. But if there is a gap we feel we need to fill with someone from outside, then we bring in someone. But there is expectation that some Gambians may be shadowing and trained so that in the next ten or fifteen years, the technical team could all be domestic staff. So it is all about quality and though we are bringing three staff that I have worked with, I am delighted to have met some of the technical staff and we will be meeting more this week,” he said.

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