Coach McKinstry and the Leone Stars have completed their pre-match training ahead of their AFCON qualifiers against Swaziland tomorrow
The game will be played at the Somhlolo National Stadium in Swaziland (Sunday 18 May - 3pm local, 2pm BST, 1pm GMT).
Preparations ahead of the game have however not been without some difficulty after a number of the Leone Stars and team officials had been forced to wait a further 24 hours in Nigeria. Officials at Lagos airport had not permitted the team to board their onward flight on Thursday evening without transit visas for South Africa. This was despite assurances earlier that day from the South African Embassy in Nigeria that transit visas were not required for the short layover in Johannesburg airport before an onward flight to Swaziland.
A number of players not traveling via Nigeria had however arrived on Friday as planned and had begun preparations. Those players included: Ibrahim Marcel Koroma (Varbergs BoIS, Sweden); Sulaiman Sesay (ETAR FC, Bulgaria); Solomon Zombo Morris (US Quevilly, France); Michael Lahoud (Philadelphia Union, USA) and Ibrahim Kallay (IFK Lulea, Sweden). The remainder of the squad arrived on Saturday morning.
Speaking on the matter this afternoon, Coach McKinstry said:
"Away games in Africa are always tough and it is disappointing that our plans to have a training session yesterday were interrupted due to the team being delayed in Nigeria. The team have however rested this morning and have just completed a good training session at the national stadium this afternoon."
"The fact that the Leone Stars are now supported by a comprehensive back-room staff, including assistant coaches and physiotherapist, makes a real difference in these scenarios as we can maximise our efforts to ensure that the team are fully prepared for the game tomorrow."
With regards to wider preparations and the game against Swaziland Coach McKinstry said:
"Myself and my staff arrived yesterday to ensure everything was in order for the team's arrival. We have been received well and I would wish to extend my thanks to the Swaziland Football Association, and to their CEO Frederick Mngomezula and staff for their warm and professional welcome."
"I know that the Swaziland team have been preparing hard ahead of the game and will be making every effort in front of their home crowd. The Leone Stars are however looking forward to a good game tomorrow, and to bringing back a positive result for the home leg in Bo in two weeks time. "
Notes to Editors
- The game is the first game (away leg) in the second round qualifier against Swaziland on 18 May 2014 as part of AFCON 2015
- You can read more about the AFCON 2015 tournament and the Leone Stars fixtures.
- Johnny McKinstry was appointed Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team on 11th April 2013. You can read more about his time in charge of the Leone Stars
- See www.johnnymckinstry.com for a range of information - biography, press releases and photographs for press use.