Firat: Harambee Stars targeting high-profile friendly against France or Italy

FOOTBALL Firat: Harambee Stars targeting high-profile friendly against France or Italy

Joel Omotto 20:30 - 24.11.2023

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has disclosed that he is planning on having a friendly match between Kenya and either France or Italy next summer

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat is keen to secure a friendly match against either France or Italy next year.

The Turkish coach says he has helped Kenya secure matches against Iran, Qatar and Russia and is now looking at a former World Cup winner with either France or Italy in his sights.

“I organised high-profile international friendlies for the national team against Iran, Qatar and Russia, all of which offered a big chance to show the talent of Kenyan players to the world,” Firat told People Daily.

“When we played Russia, the match was watched by millions of fans, scouts, coaches and marketers in the entire East Europe. Rooney Onyango was playing and a commentator mentioned him and his club Gor Mahia on live Russian television a minimum of 15 times. What a great marketing that was for the player and club.

“I have the ability to organise all this through my personal contacts, and next Summer, I plan to secure a match against a big team probably former world champions France or Italy. Some people may think it’s a pipe dream, but through my close contacts, it will happen.”

Kenya have never faced either four-time world champions Italy or France, who have won the World Cup twice, and it remains to be seen if Firat’s efforts will yield results.

Harambee Stars lost 2-1 to Iran in March before a 2-1 win away to Qatar in September and followed it with a thrilling 2-2 draw with Russia in October.

They got their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign off to a bad start when they lost 2-1 away to Gabon but made amends by beating Seychelles 5-0 on Monday.

Both Italy and France have already qualified for Euro 2024 and Firat will be hoping to secure the match before they begin the June 41-July 14, 2024 tournament in Germany which will also act as part of Kenya’s preparations for their World Cup qualifiers against Burundi and Ivory Coast on June 3 and 10 respectively.

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