Why are local coaches not applying for Gor Mahia's top job?

12th June 2024

K'Ogalo are in the process of searching for a new coach with Johnathan McKinstry set to depart at the end of June 2024.

Gor Mahia. PHOTO| SportPesa
Gor Mahia. PHOTO| SportPesa
  • Gor Mahia's top seat will be vacant with Johnathan McKinstry set to leave at the end of June for The Gambia national team job.
  • Gor vice chairman Francis Wasuna revealed that tens of foreign coaches had expressed interest in picking from where McKinstry will leave.
  • Wasuna revealed that no local coach had sent in an application for the job.

When Gor Mahia announced that two-time league-winning tactician Johnathan McKinstry will officially leave the club at the end of the current season, the process of finding his successor began in earnest in the interest of preparing for what is expected to be a resounding return to continental football.

McKinstry's two-year reign as the Gor Mahia head coach will cease at the end of the month with The Gambia national team being his next workstation.

The North Irishman has already hit the ground running at The Gambia, but Gor Mahia bosses expect him to return after the FIFA international break and oversee the remaining three league matches left in the season.

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No sooner had McKinstry's rumours of leaving Gor Mahia leaked to the public than applications from coaches began to trigger.

The club's vice chairman Francis Wasuna revealed that tens of foreign coaches had expressed interest in picking from where McKinstry will leave.

Out of the scores of applicants, none is from the wide pool of coaches trained by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) in collaboration with the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Wasuna attributes the hesitance by local coaches to apply for the job to the sky-high pressure to deliver and meet expectations of the fans.

Having won back-to-back league crowns, the new coach is expected to not only retain the title but also ensure the club puts in decent performance in continental matches.

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"I really can't tell exactly why local coaches are not interested in the job. I do understand that the job comes with a lot of pressure to deliver good results from different quarters. They probably don't like the pressure they will receive from our fan base," he told SportsBoom.

Most of the foreign coaches who have tutored the club have won titles, setting the bar high in the process.

To Wasuna this could also be a solid reason for locally trained coaches to steer clear of the job that is presumed to be lucrative.

"The bar is always very high at Gor considering that we are record league champions. Any coach coming to the club is always expected to raise it higher and this, again, could be a reason our coaches don't want to take up the challenge. Of course, we have good local tacticians, but I struggle to understand why they are not applying," he said.

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With McKinstry's reign in its sunset days, Gor Mahia are keenly looking at the profiles of twelve coaches with an eye of picking the best.

Although the application window has not shut officially, the management has elected to choose the best out of the twelve and bestow the responsibility of leading the team.

"We are still receiving new applications but unfortunately, the process of hiring a new coach has already moved to the next phase. We have shortlisted twelve candidates up to this point and time. We will pick the best from the twelve before the month ends," he told SportsBoom.

The man to handle the most successful football club on Kenyan soil must possess a UEFA Pro coaching license according to Wasuna.

The new coach is expected to inspire the club to punch a ticket to the CAF Champions League for the first time since the club's inception.

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Gor will feature in the continent's highest inter-club tournament by virtue of being the league holders. The club will however have to meet the licensing guidelines before being ushered back to the tournament.

"We expect the new coach to take us to the group stages of the CAF Champions League. We also expect him to retain the league. He must be good in talent development as well as working with young players," he disclosed.

While the new gaffer is expected to deliver, the club appears to have learnt its lessons the hard way as its embracing early preparation ahead of the new season.

Wasuna says the team will have a brief holiday as preparation for the CAF Champions League assignments will start early contrary to the past where the outfit was heavily criticized for last minute dash.

"We will have a slightly longer pre-season given the tournaments we have been invited to. Again, we want to prepare adequately for the season," he added.

K'ogalo will grace the CECAFA Kagame Cup to be held in Tanzania in July.

The club is also expected to participate in the Coal International Cup in Enugu, Nigeria early in August.

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