Harambee Stars boss Engin Firat aims dig at Ivory Coast following spirited draw

Harambee Stars boss Engin Firat aims dig at Ivory Coast following spirited draw

Mark Kinyanjui 08:00 - 12.06.2024

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has fired shots at Ivory Coast after managing to hold them to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has aimed a subtle dig at Ivory Coast after his charges managed to hold them to a heroic 0-0 draw against Ivory Coast in a clash that took part at the Bingu National Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

Kenya created the better chances but ultimately could not make them count as in the end, both sides would have to settle for a draw.

This result keeps them third in Group F on five points, with Ivory Coast top on 10 points. 

Speaking to the media post-match, Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat didn't shy away from highlighting his team's superior performance. He pointed out that Ivory Coast managed only one clear-cut chance—a shot by Brighton forward Simon Adingra that struck the bar—while Kenya created three genuine scoring opportunities.

"Ivory Coast had only the ball and one goal chance, the rest were on our side. Sometimes it's luck, sometimes, quality is missing. We should have won against Burundi and a win against Ivory Coast would have put us in a good position," Firat commented.

The Harambee Stars have faced significant challenges in recent weeks, with nine players unavailable due to injuries or other issues. 

Despite these setbacks, they completed their fixtures unbeaten. Firat speculated on how Ivory Coast might have struggled under similar circumstances, saying, "We had an unlucky two weeks. We had nearly nine players missing. I want to see how Ivory Coast would have fared if they had only nine players in their team."

The Turkish coach praised his players' resilience and determination, noting their ability to compete against top-tier teams despite the odds.

 "First we played with local players against those that played at a high level their entire careers. It is not so simple and if you look around, I am really proud of the players because we played against actual Asian champions (Qatar) , and won, played former European and Olympic champions (Russia) and drew and today, we created the better chances against African champions," Firat stated.

Looking ahead, Firat emphasized the importance of building for the future, with a focus on the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, which will be hosted on home soil.

 "But we are a team that is growing and our aim is the 2027 AFCON. We are on the right path. I know everybody was thinking we would have lost easily, but you saw that even if they play in lower leagues, they have teamwork and if they can follow our tactical plan, we have good chances to win," he concluded.

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