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McKinstry says preparation is vital for Leone Stars success

SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 By Sahr Morris Jnr.

Sierra Leone national team coach, Johnny McKinstry, has said preparation and sufficient time in training camps would be vital for Leone Stars to succeed on the international stage.

The Irish coach watched his side suffer double defeats to Ivory Coast and DR Congo in Group D of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers but the team endured poor preparation throughout the run-up to the matches.

He said after the DR Congo match: “The lack of preparation time has clearly had an impact today. Travel and problems with flights have meant that the team has only been able to have one full day of training in the last 10 days. That could be seen in our first touch and organisation.

“Added to that, fatigue is clearly an issue also. The team has spent more time in travel this week than we have in DR Congo – including spending two of our four recovery days travelling or waiting in airports. It was evident in the second half that our boys were tiring.”

Unlike Leone Stars, the Leopards of DR Congo had been in camp for around 10 days and the Irish coach said: “As I said earlier in the week, talent and tactics can only take us so far. Preparation and sufficient time in training camps is also vital to ensure we are match ready and playing as one team. You would not sit an exam without ensuring proper preparation – the same is true of a football match and more so an AFCON qualifier.”

He also advised that the country should make use of the FIFA calendar dates by playing friendly matches. “I will continue to work with the SLFA and Ministry [of Sports] on the steps that can be taken to ensure sufficient training time before our game, as I remain clear that it is vital we make full use of FIFA preparation days if we wish to maintain and further enhance our world ranking and progress in the Africa Cup of Nations.”