After a spirited performance in their win over Qatar last week, Stars were brought down to earth as they lost 1-0 to South Sudan.
Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has called for Kenyan fans to be patient with the team as it is a “learning process” both for the playing and coaching staff.
Firat thinks his boys may have been affected by the pressure of the home crowd as they were playing at the Kasarani Stadium for the first time in nearly two years as they were crashed down to earth, losing 1-0 to South Sudan in an international friendly.
07:00 - 13.09.2023
Boos roared all over Kasarani at fulltime as fans were devastated by Harambee Stars 1-0 loss to South Sudan. So how did the players perform individually?
“For us, it is not only one game. It is all a learning process and when people ask me what I think about the game's result, it is not the only thing,” Firat said.
“I do not know why, but I think I was very worried after the match that the boys were not so focused and concentrated but the first ten or fifteen minutes of the match were different.
18:00 - 13.09.2023
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A great many fans have raised the alarm after Harambee Stars' unexpected loss to South Sudan.
“They were so nervous. I do not know why, maybe it is because they are back playing at home for the first time after two years. So we make very simple mistakes and in the end also, if you think Joseph Okumu is the best we have and he never makes a mistake like this, but it happens. This is football and it is the reason why we are a team.”
Firat believes that Harambee dominated the game, creating a couple of chances, but has understood his side may need more creative impetus in future matches.
08:00 - 13.09.2023
The loss saw South Sudan register their maiden win over Kenya since attaining independence back in 2011
“We totally dominated the game. South Sudan defended very well, but it has also to do with our playing, being forced to the sides. Our overlapping on the sides did not work how I wanted and in the creativity, we lacked sometimes.
“Of course, we had enough chances to win the match and in the end, South Sudan had not even a goal chance but they won, this is the reality.”
13:00 - 13.09.2023
Harambee Stars have won just three of their last ten fixtures.
The former Eintract Frankfurt Director of Football believes the loss to South Sudan may be a blessing in disguise as it will allow him time to identify what he needs to work on before the competitive matches commence.
“I congratulate them. For us it is important how we play like I said, I see some players who bring what they can bring so I learn from this. This is what I told the boys afterwards.
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"I told them that maybe God wants us to think that we are not ready, and that we have work to do. We could also win but it will not change the subject that we have made a lot of mistakes.
“For me, it is only one more match to learn. It is of course painful to lose at home because I do not know when we will have again a home game but I say that it is better that we had this unlucky day today than in any qualifier match.”
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Harambee Stars are set to take part in two more international friendlies before they launch their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign against Gabon and Seychelles in November.