Ex-Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr opines why Harambee Stars still stand a good chance of qualifying for 2026 World Cup

Ex-Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr opines why Harambee Stars still stand a good chance of qualifying for 2026 World Cup

Pulse Sports • 19:00 - 14.06.2024

Kenya gained two points from their World Cup qualifying matches against Burundi and Ivory Coast, but former Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr is optimistic they can still qualify.

Former Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr insists that the Kenya national football team Harambee Stars still have a good chance to qualify for their maiden World Cup in 2027.

Stars returned from Malawi with two hard-earned points after drawing 1-1 against Burundi on June 7 and registering a 0-0 draw against Ivory Coast three days later. These results saw Kenya drop to fourth position in the six-team table with five points.

 Their qualification hopes suffered a blow when Burundi registered a 3-0 away win against Seychelles, moving above Kenya to third with seven points. Ivory Coast, undefeated with three wins and one draw, tops the group with ten points, while Gabon follows closely with nine points.

The outcomes from Malawi left a section of Kenyans disheartened, admitting their slim hopes of seeing the national team play at the global tournament for the first time had diminished. 

Some fans even suggested the team should focus on other assignments as their qualification hopes seemed bleak.

The 57-year-old Kerr believes that with the changing dynamics in world football, anything is possible.

"Kenya to qualify for the 2026 World Cup? Why not qualify? The dynamics in world football have changed. Everyone is playing the same brand of football, and it’s based on stats, not just about scoring goals and winning games," Kerr told SportsBoom.com.

“It is too soon for Kenya to give up. We have seen setbacks and shocking results in recent qualifiers. Who knew Sudan would be sitting at the top of a group with former African champions Senegal and even Togo? Do you want to tell me this was scripted? 

“No, I don’t think so. Dynamics have changed. It doesn’t matter whom you are playing; a game can change in seconds. So Kenya must not give up.”

Sudan, under head coach Kwesi Appiah, has been a surprise package in the qualifiers so far, leading Group B with ten points, two more than the Lions of Teranga. 

DR Congo is third with seven points, Togo fourth with three, South Sudan fifth with two, and Mauritania last with a single point. Remarkably, Sudan remains unbeaten alongside Senegal after four matches, having recorded three wins and one draw.

According to Kerr, who won the FKF Premier League title with Gor Mahia in his first season and completed a trophy treble in 2018, the Harambee Stars' group is still wide open, and any team, including Kenya, can spring a surprise to reach the top.

“The Kenya group is still open. We have only played four matches, and it is a group of six teams. Kenya has five points, and table leaders Ivory Coast have ten.

“But what if Ivory Coast loses their next two matches and Kenya wins theirs? What will happen? Will you not see a change at the top?” asked Kerr, who began his playing career with Sheffield Wednesday before moving to Leeds United in 1989.

"It will be suicidal for Kenya to give up at this stage; they must keep the trust because anything is possible," he added.

Kerr bemoaned Kenya’s failure to haul at least four points from the two matches but praised their fighting spirit in securing a vital draw against the African champions.

 “A point is always a good result, but a point against a so-called bigger team and not getting full points against so-called lesser teams is suicidal,” he said.

“From my understanding, although an amazing point against a good team, Kenya should have come away with the three points because they played well, took the game to Ivory Coast, and created many chances but were wasteful in front of the goal.”

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