Firat earmarks two crucial Harambee Stars matches in quest for maiden World Cup appearance

FOOTBALL Firat earmarks two crucial Harambee Stars matches in quest for maiden World Cup appearance

Mark Kinyanjui 16:00 - 23.11.2023

Kenya will play their next World Cup qualifiers against Ivory Coast and the Gambia at home.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has earmarked games against Ivory Coast and the Gambia as crucial in "putting Kenya in a very good position" in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The former Eintracht Frankfurt coach has also made his honest assessment of the nature of Group F following the first two rounds of matches that were played over the just-concluded international break.

The Group consists of Kenya, Ivory Coast, Burundi, the Gambia Seychelles and Gabon.

Stars are currently third on three points after losing the opening game against Gabon but made amends by obliterating Seychelles 5-0, who are rock bottom after also losing to Ivory Coast 9-0.

Speaking after the two rounds of fixtures, the Turkish coach was quick to point out the unpredictable nature of the group, namechecking Gambia’s shock start considering they were tipped to be one of the favorites to advance from the group but have lost their opening two games.

“I think everyone (will) realise this is a different Kenya, a Kenya that is ready to compete, who is hungry and is not happy with any loss or whatever,” Firat said.

“You never know what will happen in the next moment. For many people, Gambia with their very good squad was one of the favorites or the favorite. Now they start with two games with zero points,” he added.

Firat asked fans not to forget that Stars were the only side that started two consecutive matches away from home in the group, which puts them in a good position.

“People should not forget that we are the only team who played two matches away. All other teams had minimum one home match, we played two away.”

Firat has expressed confidence in his charges, saying that the side is ready to compete and challenge for a maiden World Cup place.

“We are very good in the race even if we started with a loss and I think in June, these matches at home against Burundi and Ivory Coast can put us in a very good position.

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