Sierra Leone’s Northern Irish international head Coach Johnny Mckinstry has been sacked together with his backroom staff. Football Sierra Leone can authoritatively reveal that The Sierra Leone Sport Ministry has confirmed in a letter to the Northern Irish international. (Photo: Mckinstry with Sierra Leone’s legend Mohamed Kallon)
The decision to fire the coach that lead Sierra Leone to the highest FIFA Coca Cola World Ranking came as a shock after a series of social media rumours, at 4pm Wednesday 17 September 2014 Coach Mckinstry received an emailed letter from the Ministry of Sports advising that his contract had been terminated.
The Deputy Sports minister, Al Sankoh has said an assessment was done on the coach’s performance from his first match, “Decision for his sacking was due to poor game records and the unhealthy relationship between him and the players.”
Coach Mckinstry 29 has arguably been one of the most successful coach of the Leone Stars in recent times, only last month steering them to a Top 50 place in the FIFA World Rankings for the first time ever, and 7th in Africa – collectively their highest ever FIFA and CAF rankings, and well above their lowest ever ranking of 172nd in 2007.
Talking to Football Sierra Leone while reacting to the news today, Coach Mckinstry said: “It is obviously very disappointing and frustrating news, especially as logistics are outside of my control. I have repeatedly been clear with the Ministry of Sports and the SLFA for a number of months now on the critical importance of proper preparation time if we were to progress in the African Cup of Nations, even more so when it was announced that we were drawn against giants such as Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon.”
“Following the difficulties last week, I had requested urgent meetings with the SLFA and Ministry of Sports this week to again ask them to try to rectify the situation with regards to preparation time before the upcoming Cameroon games, as it is simply not acceptable for an Top 50 international team to be arriving in country 24 hours before a game.”
He added, In recent games, training camps have been impacted due travel and logistics issues meaning that players were not arriving in country in good time.
For the Swaziland away qualifier in May, almost the entire squad arrived just over 24 hrs before the game.
For the Cote d’Ivoire game this month, 5 of the squad arrived less than 24 hours before the game. Most recently, just last week the squad spent a full 2 days travelling – only arriving 36 hrs before the game against DR Congo last week, and allowing them only one light training session against a team who have been in camp locally for something approaching almost 10 days”.
Coach McKinstry was also required to drop two players at the airport due to lack of seat availability on flights.
Meanwhile, his replacement is yet to be announced, FSL will be contacting the SLFA for their reaction on the recent development.