John Keister has bid an emotional farewell to Sierra Leone’s national coaching job, “calling his three years as head coach of the national football team a “beautiful experience which I will never forget.”
Appointed in August 2020, succeeding Ghanaian-born Sellas Tetteh, he guided the national team to the Cameroon African Cup of Nations after almost three decades of absence – his highest achievement as a football coach thus far.
“This journey has been immensely wonderful – an extraordinary journey filled with unforgettable moments, remarkable achievements, and invaluable lessons, each of which has left an indelible mark on my coaching career.
I am proud to say that we have built a culture of unity, discipline, and sportsmanship, setting a solid foundation for future achievements.
Striker Kei Kamara scored a first-half penalty for Keister’s side to secure a place at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time since 1996, following a 1-0 victory over Benin in Conakry.
His reign finally came to an end after his term of contract expired this August and was not renewed by the football authorities.
His final Leone Stars game ended in a 2-1 defeat to Guinea-Bissua at the Estádio 24 de Setembro on Monday, 11th September 2023.
Keister had previously served as head coach of the Leone Stars home-based team as well as the Sierra Leone under-17 and under-23 national teams.
The former Leone Stars midfielder was born in Manchester and played for several lower-league clubs in England, including Walsall, Chester City, Shrewsbury Town and Stevenage Borough.
He was capped 16 times by Sierra Leone between 1997 and 2003.