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Coach McKinstry blames lack of preparation for failure

SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 By Sahr Morris Jnr.

Irish coach Johnny McKinstry has reacted with disappointment over his dismal as head coach of the Sierra Leone national team, Leone Stars by both the Sports Ministry and the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA).

The 29-year-old, who was appointed in April 2013, said on his officially website that the news about his sacking was disappointing and frustrating especially when logistics and preparations were not in his control.

He said: “It is obviously very disappointing and frustrating news, especially as logistics are outside of my control. I have repeatedly been clear for a number of months now on the critical importance of proper preparation time if we were to progress in the African Cup of Nations, even more so when it was announced that we were drawn against giants such as Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon.”

He continued: “Following the difficulties last week, I had requested urgent meetings with the SLFA and Ministry of Sports this week to again ask them to try to rectify the situation with regards to preparation time before the upcoming Cameroon games, as it is simply not acceptable for a Top 50 international team to be arriving in country 24 hours before a game.”

McKinstry further revealed that in recent games, training camps have been impacted due to travel and logistics issues as players were not arriving in country in good time, citing that during the Swaziland away qualifier in May, almost the entire squad arrived just over 24 hours before the game.

Also for the Cote d’Ivoire match, he said five of the players arrived less than 24 hours before the game and for the DR Congo match, the squad spent a full two days travelling – arriving at their destination only 36 hours before the game.

The Craig Bellamy Academy coach said: “We now have considerable talent in our squad. However, talent and tactics could only ever take us so far. Access to sufficient preparation time in training camps would also be vital to ensure we were match ready and playing as one team. “The simple truth has always been that lack of preparation time would severely limit our ability to progress in AFCON 2015, and to demonstrate the full potential of the Leone Stars.”

Decision to sack McKinstry and his technical team comes on the back of failing to secure a single point against Cote d’Ivoire and DR Congo in the AFCON qualifiers.

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