Newly discharged Sierra Leone Northern Irish head coach Johnny Mckinstry has every reason to be proud after his dismissal from his role by the Sierra Leone Sport Ministry and The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA). (Photo credit: Darren Mckinstry)
The Irishman became the youngest active international head coach in football at age 27 following his appointment April 2013. His achievement surpassed only by former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham Manager Andre Villas-Boas who was 22 when he led the British Virgin Island.
Mckinstry is the first to successfully guide the West African nation to the Fifa Coca Cola ranking top 50 in the world Cup and 7th in Africa for the first time ever, collectively their highest ever FIFA and CAF rankings, and well above Sierra Leone lowest ever ranking of 172nd in 2007.
He also constructed a team that, on its day, notched result against what many would say minor opponents but stumbles against tougher oppositions the likes of Ivory Coast and DR Congo. Mckinstry was always clear on two goals, and his main highlight will be Sierra Leone moving to the top 50 in the world, and to qualify for the African Cup of Nations in 2015.
The Irish international was confident Sierra Leone will bounce back from the miserable start to the African Cup of Nations qualifying against Ivory Coast and DR Congo and also he reiterated there is a need for togetherness in this difficult time not only in football but the country as a whole.
But his deteriorating relationship with senior players most notable leaving Azerbaijan based attacking midfielder Gibrilla Julius Woobay out of the DR Congo squad is a major concern for the football authorities.
However, Mckinstry claim he was required to drop Woobay and Alfred Sankoh at the airport due to lack of seat availability on flights, which was done to inadequate preparation.
His record is not the worst in the world and not the best, played 8 games with 3 wins and 2 draws losing 3 matches that include the 2015 Afcon qualifiers against Ivory Coast and the DR Congo defeats.
Mckinstry said: “Following receipt of the emailed letter from the Ministry of Sports late this afternoon, Coach Mckinstry travelled to personally speak with the Minister of Sport, Paul Kamara and then Chris Kamara, General Secretary of the SLFA.
“I wanted to speak with them personally… to wish both organisations the best for the future – but also to make clear again the critical importance of the Ministry of Sport and the SLFA ensuring proper preparation time for the squad ahead of games.
I have brought together a very talented group of players and I do not wish to see that talent squandered through a simple lack of preparation. I will also speak with players this evening to pass on my best wishes for the future.”