Johnathan McKinstry: Gor Mahia Coach Praises Players’ Grit in Hard Fought Win Over City Stars

Johnathan McKinstry: Gor Mahia Coach Praises Players’ Grit in Hard Fought Win Over City Stars

Robert Abong'o
updated at February 19, 2024 at 2:30 PM
In this article:
Gor Mahia logo
Gor Mahia
Kenyan Premier League logo
KEN Premier League
Nairobi Star City logo
Nairobi City
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  • Johnathan McKinstry has lauded Gor Mahia’s grit in the win against Nairobi City Stars
  • Benson Omalla scored the only goal in an intense FKF Premier League tie on Saturday
  • The victory propelled K’Ogalo to the top of the log with 47 points after 22 matchweeks

Gor Mahia head coach, Johnathan McKinstry, has praised his team's determination in securing a 1-0 win against Nairobi City Stars in the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League.

The match, played on Saturday, February 17, saw Benson Omalla end his seven-game goal drought by striking early to clinch a hard-fought victory for the league leaders.

Austin Odhiambo's sharp observation led to a precise delivery from Musa, allowing the young striker to capitalize against the run of play.

Gor Mahia head coach, Johnathan McKinstry. Photo: Johnathan McKinstry.
Gor Mahia boss, Johnathan McKinstry, has lauded the team's effort against Nairobi City Stars. Photo: Johnathan McKinstry.
Source: Twitter

Omalla's goal, his 10th of the season and a first since December 9, 2023, came just four minutes into the game after receiving a well-executed pass from new signing Shariff Musa. Omalla's reported loan move to Algeria side collapsed in the last minute, as reported by Nation.

Sports Brief attended the match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos and captured the manager's comments right after the clash during the media briefing.

McKinstry expressed pride in his players' performance, insisting that a quicker ball distribution to wingers could have resulted in a more comfortable lead for his team before half-time.

“A little frustration that maybe we were not more than a goal ahead. A very good goal. Maybe we could’ve gotten the ball out to Bryson and Shariff a little bit quicker. If we had been 2-0 goal ahead by half-time, that would have been a fair reflection,” he said.

Acknowledging the intensity of matches involving the perennial Kenyan champions, the Northern Irish manager attributed some second-half fatigue mistakes to the demanding nature of the game. He stressed the need to rotate players in the upcoming Mozzart Bet Cup match against Denmark FC on February 24 to rest some key players.

“We had a lot of tired guys out there. When you play for K’Ogalo, the games are more intense than for any other team. You could see that a little bit towards the end of the game, some little mistakes were happening through mental fatigue, but we’ve got the cup next week where we’ll rotate and give some guys a well-earned rest,” he explained.

Commenting on Simba wa Nairobi's aggressive approach in the second half, McKinstry commended their determination to try to secure a point, even if it meant conceding defeat. He noted the effectiveness of their midfield winning second balls but highlighted his intervention to motivate his players during the game.

McKinstry also praised goalkeeper Kevin Omondi for making a crucial late save, equating its significance to Omalla's match-winning goal.

“Goalkeepers at top clubs don’t need to make 10 saves a game. They need to make one or maybe two. That double action was worth everything the same as Omalla’s goal,” he concluded.

Victory propelled Gor Mahia to the top of the log with 47 points after 22 matches, while City Stars, who aimed to climb to second place, dropped to fifth (37 points), as reported by Pulse Sports.

Gor Mahia chairman refutes blocking Omalla's transfer

Sports Brief reported that Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier pushed back against rumours suggesting the club obstructed Omalla's move to JS Saoura.

Clarifying the circumstances of the transfer saga, the club chief explained the Algerian club had approached them five days before the transfer window closed.

Rachier stated that the club had 'promptly initiated' the paperwork, and he had signed off on all the necessary documents.

Robert Abong'o photo
Robert Abong'o
Editor - Africa Team