Johnathan McKinstry: I’ve no regrets taking Gor job

Johnathan McKinstry

Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry reacts after their FKF Premier League match against Tusker at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on January 20. the Irishman is officially leaving Gor at the end of the season.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

Irish coach Johnathan McKinstry is leaving Gor Mahia after a very successful season, opting not to extend his contract but seek a new challenge.

He doesn’t regret taking the job in July 2022 and leading the Kenyan giants to an unprecedented 21st league title despite being discouraged two years ago by other tacticians not to take this well-known hot job.

In a lengthy interview with Gor Mahia Media this week the out-going coach said he will miss the team and will be watching closely how they perform in the CAF Champions League.

But his work in Kenya is not yet finished, he reckons, and hopes to come back one day.

McKinstry will be leaving Gor Mahia after their last league game of the season versus Bidco United on June 23 even though his two-year contract with the club ends in September to take a new job as coach of Gambia. He has bagged two FKF-PL titles with K’Ogalo.

Many challenges

The Football Kenya Federation Premier League winner was officially announced as the new coach of the Gambia on Wednesday in Banjul.

Interestingly, Gambia are in the same 2026 World Cup qualifying Group "F" with Kenya. The Gambians play Seychelles and Gabon on June 8 and June 11 respectively.

“I’m leaving this club because I got a better offer,” he revealed

“I was discouraged from taking this job because of the many challenges then but this success makes me not regret my decision,” said McKinstry.

The full interview will be aired on Gor Mahia’s social media site this week.

“I know the club wants someone who will take what we have started growing and build it. We have the fourth youngest squad in the league and whoever comes in should guide and teach these players so that they can perform well in the CAF Champions League,” he added.

“Working with this young team was fantastic and the new coach should be embraced. The team is well set up and the ideas of my successor, I’m optimistic, will help them make another history of qualifying for at least the group stage of the CAF Champions League,” said McKinstry, who formerly Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

He said the incoming coach shouldn’t be judged by his performance but should be allowed to bring his system of play to better the club. After the next round of World Cup qualifiers in June, McKinstry will briefly return to Kenya for Gor Mahia’s coronation at Raila Odinga on June 19 when they face FC Talanta.

Bid the club farewell

He will officially bid the club farewell after the close the season against Bidco United at a venue yet to be confirmed.

He never had it easy at Gor Mahia with die-hard fans expressing their dissatisfaction with slim wins he secured and what they claimed was a “lack of clear playing philosophy.”

He said that winning was what mattered and he has delivered the Kenyan title.

But he says what is key to him is winning games because that is what football demands.

Who will take over at K’Ogalo?

Gor Mahia Secretary Sam Ochola said in a statement they will be looking for an internationally accomplished coach with CAF Champions League group stage experienced.

Ochola added that the coach must be new in Kenya, a clear response to rumours that former AFC Leopards coach Patrick Aussems was being considered for the big seat.

The official added that the coach must also have bagged titles with the national team and club he has worked for.

McKinstry joins a long list of Gor Mahia coaches who have left as reigning league champions.