Firat calls out tactical misstep in FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers stalemate against Burundi

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Firat calls out tactical misstep in FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers stalemate against Burundi

Festus Chuma 10:34 - 08.06.2024

Engin Firat reflects on tactical choices after Harambee Stars draw with Burundi in the World Cup qualifiers.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has revealed a critical tactical oversight that allowed Burundi to snatch a late equalizer in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Friday afternoon.

The match, which ended in a 1-1 draw saw Kenya squander a lead late in the game a situation Firat attributed to poor game management and defensive tactics.

The game unfolded with Kenya taking control in the second half thanks to a goal from Duke Abuya in the 72nd minute.

Reflecting on the match’s outcome, Firat expressed mixed feelings about the team's performance.

"I'm not unhappy with the way we played, especially if people knew the conditions we faced and what happened in these days. So, therefore, I'm happy with the way the boys played, but not with the result," he shared during the post-match interview.

The shift to a defensive strategy immediately after taking the lead was a key point of contention for Firat.

The Turkish gaffer emphasized the need for simplicity in critical moments a lesson he believes his players have yet to fully embrace.

"You only need to kick the ball away, that's all. But sometimes players like to show that they are controlling everything," he explained.

Firat further criticized the players' reluctance to clear the ball effectively, a basic yet crucial tactic often observed in higher levels of play.

"They don't like to play the ball out; they want to make these passes and everything. And these are the kinds of things you never see at the top level. At the top level, they don't care—they'll kick the ball out of the stadium even. So these are the points to remember," he stated.

This approach, according to Firat, cost the team dearly in their match against Burundi.

"When I was here in Malawi last time, I said this team is learning, and sometimes this learning costs us a lot," he noted, hinting at the growing pains still evident in the squad’s tactical maturity.

Kenya’s next match will be against Africa Cup of Nations champions Ivory Coast on Tuesday at the same venue.

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