Soccer-McKinstry named as new coach of Gambia

BANJUL (Reuters) - Gambia have appointed Irishman Johnathan McKinstry as their new coach, weeks before they resume their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The 38-year-old McKinstry has previously had stints as coach of Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Uganda.

His appointment on Thursday by Gambia’s National Sports Council comes after it described as a “thorough recruitment and selection process”.

No terms of his contract were given.

McKinstry was a relatively unknown 27-year-old when Sierra Leone appointed him coach in 2015 but he was sacked a year later.

He spent 18 months as Rwanda coach and had a similar term with Uganda.

Gambia are one of Africa’s smallest countries but under previous coach Tom Saintfiet from Belgium reached the previous two Africa Cup of Nations finals.

They were shock quarter-finalists on their debut appearance at the 2021 tournament in Cameroon.

Gambia will play Seychelles on June 8 and Gabon on June 11 in their latest Group F qualifier for the 2026 World Cup in North America. They lost their opening two qualifiers last November to Burundi and the Ivory Coast.

(Reporting by Pap Saine in Banjul; Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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