Sierra Leone National Team

The Leone Stars [Leone Stars v Swaziland 31 May 2014 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]

The Leone Stars have beaten Swaziland 1-0 to progress to next round of AFCON 2015 (31 May 2014)

Swaziland foul Michael lahoud to concede a penalty [Leone Stars v Swaziland 31 May 2014 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]The game saw the Leone Stars play a consistent passing game, applying attacking pressure particularly in the second half with a number of shots and a penalty goal from Captain Umaru 'Zingalay' Bangura

The opening minutes were not without drama. Rodney Strasser left the field after only 8 minutes with a dislocated shoulder after an awkward collision. Minutes later a strong call for a Leone Stars penalty was not awarded after a Swaziland player appeared to clearly handle the ball in the penalty box.

Michael Lahoud and team mates call out for the penalty. [Leone Stars v Swaziland 31 May 2014 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]Overall, the Leone Stars dominated the first half with a controlling passing game. The second half saw the Leone Stars apply further pressure, beginning shortly after the restart when Captain Umaru 'Zingalay' Bangura directed a long range strike which clearly unsettled the keeper.  

A number of attacking attempts by the Leone Stars quickly followed and a penalty was awarded to the Leone Stars after Mike Lahoud was brought down in the box (see photos).  

Captain Umaru 'Zingalay' Bangura placed his shot with precision to the right post (see photos), beating the Swaziland keeper and scoring the penalty to give the Leone Stars the 1-0 victory in front of the home crowd.


Third round of AFCON 2015 Qualifiers

The Leone Stars now progress to face Seychelles in the third round of AFCON qualifiers

  • 18-20 July 2014 - Home game versus Seychelles
  • 1-3 August 2014 - Away game versus Seychelles


Post Match Interview with Coach McKinstry

Umaru Bangura beats the Swaziland keeper, with a perfectly placed drive towards the post [Leone Stars v Swaziland 31 May 2014 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]"I thought the boys played very well in the game. It was a very difficult encounter - Swaziland sat in behind the ball and sought to deny us space. In the first half the boys were very patient, they moved the ball around well, tried to create some chances and the patience was there.

At half time, we sent them out to put more pressure on our opponents, to try to create more goal scoring opportunities and I believe we did that. We had a couple of early shots from distance that troubled their goalkeeper and ultimately we were awarded with a penalty and we put that away."

The game finished 1-0, we are very pleased with that. Maybe on a different day we might have got another 1 or 2 goals but overall we are very pleased with the performance."

On the ongoing development of the team, Coach McKinstry said:

Captain Umaru 'Zingalay' Bangura celebrates his first international goal for the Leone Stars.  [Leone Stars v Swaziland 31 May 2014 (Pic: Darren McKinstry)]"Since my time coming in with the Leone Stars we have focussed on playing football - we don't just want to hit the ball from back to front, long ball fashion - we want to move the ball, we want to pass it, we want to play good football ... and I thought today that the players did that.

It would have been easy, against a team sitting back so deep to just launch the ball in and hope for knock downs, but for us the players tried to move the ball around and eventually that brought us success. They are sticking to our philosophy and we hope to contine to develop that in the games to come."

Looking ahead to the next round and the team preparations required, Coach McKinstry commented:

"This now takes us through to Seychelles in the next round. The preparations for that begin tomorrow morning when we start reviewing the video of this game and start gathering information on our next opponents.  

We know that once again it will be a very difficult encounter. They will most likely sit in behind the ball again, much like Swaziland did and we know that the onus is on us to break them down and create chances. The preparation starts now and over the next 2 months we will be making sure that the players are ready for that challenge."


Watch the Video Interview:

Video SwazilandHome PostMatch310514


Match Squad


Solomon Zombo Morris; Ibrahim Kamara; Ishmael Koroma; Umaru Bangura; David Simbo; Rodney Strasser; Khalifa Jabbie; Alfred Sankoh; Michael Lahoud; Abdulai Baggie; Kei Kamara


Christian Caulker; Yeame Dunia; Mohamed Kamara; Ibrahim Kallay; Sulaiman Sesay; Fayia Kobba; Kabba Tucker


Match Highlights 

You can click any of the pictures below to see a full screen version of the picture.  You can then also choose to click the play arrow to watch a slide show of all images.

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For more news and pictures of Leone Stars games and training camps - visit


Notes to Editors

  1. The match was the second game (home leg) in the second round qualifier against Swaziland on 31 May 2014 as part of AFCON 2015 - the African Cup of Nations.   The game was played at the National Stadium in Freetown, Sierra Leone (Saturday 31 May - 16:30 local, 17:30 BST, 16:30 GMT).
  2. The first game (away) on 18 May 2014 resulted in a 1:1 draw  
  3. You can read more about the AFCON 2015 tournament and the Leone Stars fixtures.
  4. 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
  5. See for a range of information - biography, press releases and photographs for press use.
  6. To arrange an email or telephone interview, please contact 

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About Coach McKinstry

Coach McKinstry is a UEFA Pro Licensed Football Coach, with a number of successes across his 20+ year career to date.    He is currently Head Coach of Gor Mahia FC in Kenya

As Head Coach of the Uganda National Team, the 'Uganda Cranes' (2019 - 2021) he led Uganda to win CECAFA 2019 and over his tenure delivered a WIN from 2 in every 3 games, going undefeated in over 8 in every 10 games played.  This represented the highest 'win' and 'undefeated' rate achieved by a Uganda National Team Coach in over 15 years.

He was International Manager and Head Coach of the Rwanda National Football Team (2015-16). Within just 17 months he led Rwanda to a number of highs - including their first ever appearance in the knockout stages of a major international tournament (Quarter-finals of CHAN, Jan 2016) and finished runner-up in CECAFA (Dec 2105), being named 'Coach of the Tournament' for his efforts. 

Across 2013-14, he was Head Coach of the Sierra Leone National Men's Football team. Within just over a year, he had led Sierra Leone to their highest ever FIFA World and African rankings - 7th in Africa and 50th in the World (August 2014). 

He has also been Head Coach of Saif Sporting Club, Bangladesh Premier League (2018-19); and FK Kauno Zalgiris, Lithuanian A-Lyga (2017-18).  He is a European (UEFA), American (NSCAA) and university qualified football coach. 

Coach McKinstry is a member of 'Common Goal'. Together members seek to support high-impact organisations that harness the power of football to advance the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Quotes: What the media say

  • Very few 29-year-olds have managed a national football team. None have done it while that country is being brought to its knees by Ebola.

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    Ben Smith BBC Sport
  • Leone Stars shine with purpose... what is even more remarkable is what the young Northern Irishman has done ... the Leone Stars are ranked 50th in the world and seventh in Africa – higher than they have ever been.

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  • McKinstry has become one of the most rounded and well-travelled British coaches at the highest level abroad.

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    These Football Times
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