Record Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) champions Gor Mahia have appointed Irish coach Johnathan McKinstry on a two-year contract.
According to the club Secretary-General Sam Ochola, the former Ugandan national team head coach is expected in the country this week and will be officially unveiled on Monday.
“We have settled on McKinstry due to his experience and performance in the teams he has coached. He is the right person to steer us for the next two seasons as we fight to reclaim our league title and win other accolades,” Ochola told Nation Sport.
"McKinstry has coached in Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone and that shows you he has handled and nurtured great players,” added Ochola.
The 37-year-old served as Uganda Cranes coach for 18 months before he was fired in November last year.
McKinistry won the Cecafa 2019 with Uganda Cranes and was the Cecafa 2015 coach of the tournament while serving as the Rwanda's national team coach.
He was coach of the Amavubi between March 2015 and August 2016.
He also had a stint as Sierra Leone head coach between April 2013 and September 2014.
The coach, who holds a Uefa Pro Licence, was the 2006 United Kingdom Grassroots Coach of the Year.
At club level, he coached FK Kauno Žalgiris A-Lyga in Lithuania from July 2017 to December 2017 and SAIF Sporting Club in Bangladesh from November 2018 to September 2019.
McKinistry will fill in the position left vacant by German tactician Andreas Spier after opting not to renew his contract at the end of last season.
The German, who had previously served as FKF Instructor in 2016, was with Gor Mahia for only six months.
McKinistry becomes the 11th coach to coach K’Ogalo since 2013.
Other who have managed the club are Bobby Williamson, Frank Nuttall, Dylan Kerr, Hassan Oktay, Steven Polack, Roberto Oliveira, Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo, Mark Harrison and Paul Nkata.
The arrival of McKinistry comes just after weeks after K’Ogalo landed a Sh76 million sponsorship with betting firm Betafriq.
The team began their pre-season training this week under assistant coach Michael Nam.
The new coach however will have to do with the current squad at the club as Gor, just like their arch-rivals AFC Leopards, are serving transfer ban.
The club has maintained most of the players in its squad last season apart from foreigners Sando Sando Yangayay and custodian Adama Keita, who left the club last week.
New Gor coach McKinstry to take charge of pre-season friendly
New Gor Mahia coach Jonathan McKinstry could be on the touchline when the club takes on hosts Mombasa Combined in a pre-season friendly at the newly built Ronald Ngala sports grounds at the Coast on Sunday.
McKinstry, 37, is yet to be officially unveiled by K'Ogalo, but a travel manifest of the record Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) champions side ahead of the Mombasa trip obtained by Nation Sport has the Irish coach as part of a 34-man travelling contingent.
Club officials who spoke to Nation Sport off the record confirmed the experienced coach, who's previously managed the Uganda and Rwanda national teams, is set to arrive in Nairobi Friday night.
Also making the trip to Mombasa is club chairman Ambrose Rachier, veteran players George Odhiambo, Ernest Wendo, Philemon Otieno and Austin Odhiambo, alongside assistant coach Micheal Nam and team manager Jolawi Obondo.
This will be Gor Mahia's first game of pre-season, a week after Nam led the team in pre-season training in Nairobi.
Coached by former Harambee Stars coach Mohammed Kheri and ex-international Chrispin Olando, Mombasa Combined comprises youthful players drawn from the Coastal city.
Meanwhile, this game will be played as part of celebrations to officially open the Ronald Ngala sports grounds.
The venue has been built from a Sh100 million kitty mostly drawn from the Mvita Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and overseen by outgoing lawmaker Abdulswamad Nassir.
"We put up this venue because of the desire by the youth in this region to play football professionally," the politician, who is contesting for the Mombasa gubernatorial seat in the August 9 polls, told Nation Sport.
"Pending approvals, this ground will host Premier League and National Super League matches. But this is the first of many. We will renovate stadiums in Mombasa, and build others, as part of a larger plan to develop sports," added Twaha Mbarak, a seasoned football administrator and coordinator of this match.
The match between Gor and Mombasa Combined will be preceeded by an inter-constituency tournament involving grassroots teams.
The winning team will pocket Sh500,000 with the runners up taking home Sh150,000. All participating teams will be awarded Sh100,000.
The 2022/2023 FKF-PL season is set to commence on August 27.
New Gor Mahia coach Jonathan McKinstry is confident that his arrival will bring a new dawn at the club and return it to its title-winning ways.
McKinistry, who was unveiled on Friday, says his first role will be to ensure Gor Mahia reclaims the Football Kenya Federation Premier League title from Tusker.
Gor are the record winners of the Kenyan League having won it 19 times.
"I'm happy to be here and my first target is to win the Kenyan Premier League title. I know the last two years have been a disappointment for the stakeholders and supporters of the club after missing out.
My priority will be to improve the players we have so that they can do well on the pitch," said McKinistry.
"If we do that we will definitely win the league," added the youthful tactician.
Despite having coached Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone national teams, McKinistry said he has no pressure to deliver at K'Ogalo as he loves facing new challenges.
"This is club which has won many trophies locally and continentally. The club supporters have a right to expect good performance from us. I have worked with national teams before and I'm also prepared to win title with K'Ogalo," added McKinistry after being recieved by club chairman Ambrose Rachier.
The veteran football administrator welcome the coach at the club and was optimistic that he will ensure a turn around in the performance of the club.
"Though he is a very young man, he has massive experience and we welcome him to Gor Mahia. We are ready to work with him," said Rachier.
McKinistry was with the team over the weekend for a friendly match with Coastal Combined.
While with Uganda, he won the 2019 Cecafa tournament and emerged as the best coach of the same competition with Amavubi Stars of Rwanda in 2015 where his team lost 1-0 to Uganda in the final.