Afcon qualifiers – McKinstry is upbeat about Leone Stars prospect


Ahead of Sierra Leone first leg encounter with the Les Elephants’ in Abidjan, Leone Stars head Coach, Johnny Mckinstry told Football Sierra Leone in an exclusive interview that he is upbeat about Leone Stars prospect for Morocco 2015 starting with Saturday encounter against Ivory Coast in Abidjan. (Coach Mckinstry working with goalkeeper John Trye – Pic © Darren Mckinstry)

“The Leone Stars have an exciting second half of 2014 ahead as we push for qualification for the Nations Cup in Morocco. We also know this will not be easy but our focus this year has been very much about building our capacity, team ethic and squad quality to give us a realistic chance of progressing. Looking at the players we now have available in the group, as well as their mindset, I know we have a good chance.”

“At the beginning of the year we set ourselves the target of moving Sierra Leone into the top 50 of the FIFA World Rankings (which would be our highest position ever) and qualifying for AFCON 2015, I confidently believe we are on track for both of these objectives, and as such qualification into the group stage of qualifying is seen as part of our journey.”

“We firmly believe that we have the quality required to qualify for AFCON 2015. The road ahead is challenging, however for any new team to break into the elite group of teams, you must first dislodge one of those already there. The group we can progress into should we be successful against the Seychelles will give us a direct opportunity to do just that. I am confident. The players are confident. And we look forward to the big occasions like those against the teams you have mentioned to show the world that Sierra Leone are a rising force in world football.”He told

In the August FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking under the supervision of the Irish born international the Leone Stars are ranked 50th in the global ranking also place seventh in Africa for the first time in the country’s history, Leone Stars have played six matches with only one defeat in the FIFA World cup qualifier against Cape Verde.

Johnny McKinstry 29 also maintained his cordial relationship with players “I am enjoying the role very much. We have a great group of players here who not only have a high quality in terms of footballing ability, but also good character and work ethic on the field. They have been very open to some of the new ideas we have presented to them, and you can see that through the style of play that we are developing with the National team. Because of this I am confident we will finish the job reaching Morocco 2015, and keep improving the team over the months ahead before the Tournament.

“Working with the players has been great. We have a very open and honest relationship, and I am in contact with them on a regular basis between games regardless of where they are playing their club football. I think they can see what we are trying to achieve and that we have a very specific plan. This always instils confidence in the group – when they can see that the leadership have a clear vision.”

However, his job has been made terribly difficult because of the Ebola outbreak; it obvious now Sierra Leone will have to play their home games on a neutral venue.

“We will adopt a new home in a different country to complete our fixtures. Whilst it is disappointing that we will not be able to play in front of our own fans, they are so passionate about their team, it is a decision that we understand and are supportive of.” He reiterated to

The qualifiers are expected to run from September 5 to November 19 and will decide the 15 teams to play alongside host Morocco in Africa’s top football tournament early next year.


Leone Stars Squad

Solomon Zombo Morris – US Quevily (France)

John Trye – ASA Charge (USA)

Sheriff Suma – Syrianska (Sweden)

Umaru Bangura – Dynamo Minsk (Belarus)

David Simbo – Al Hilal (Sudan)

Mohamed Kamanor – UMEA (Sweden)

Mustapha Dumbuya – Notts County (England)

Mallan Roberts – FC Edmonton (Canada)

Abdul Rahman Bangura – Atlanta Silverbacks (USA)

Mohamed Kamara – Bolton Wanderers (England)

Michael Lahoud – Philadelphia Union (USA)

Alfred Sankoh – Khazar Lankaran (Azerbaijan)

Khalifa Jabbie – Balikesirspor (Turkey)

Julius Woobay – Neftchi Baku (Azerbaijan)

Ibrahim Kallay – Lulea (Sweden)

Albert Kargbo – Friskaviljor (Sweden)

George Davies – (Germany)

Alhassan Kamara – Orebro (Sweden)

Kei Kamara – (England)

Alhaji Kamara – Norrkoping (Sweden)


The Elephants Squad for Leone Stars and the Indomitable Lions


Gbohouo Sylvain (Séwé Sport/CIV), Copa Barry (Lokeren/ Belgium), Sayouba Mandé (Stabek/Norway)


Serge Aurier (PSG/ France), Bamba Souleyman (Palermo/ Italy), Jean Daniel AkpaAkpro(Toulouse/ France), Constant Djakpa (Frankfurt/ Germany), Ouattara Ousmane (Séwé Sport/ CIV), Brice DjaDjédjé (Marseille/ France), Franck Kessié (Stella/ CIV), Benjamin Angoua (Guingamp/ France), Lamine Koné (Lorient/ France), Arthur Boka (Malaga/ Spain)


Bolly Mathis (Fortuna Düsseldorf/Germany), CheickTioté (Newcastle/England), Roger Assalé (Séwé Sport/ CIV), Yaya Touré (Manchester City/England), Max-Alain Gradel (St-Etienne/ France), Ismaël Diomandé (St- Etienne/ France), Geoffroy Serey Dié (Basel/ Switzerland), Eric Tié Bi (AsterasTripolis/ Greece)


Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow/ Russia), Gadji Tallo (Bastia/ France), Gervinho (Roma/ Italy), Wilfried Bony (Swansea/ England), Salomon Kalou (Lille/ France


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