Harambee Stars: Why Engin Firat is not underestimating Zimbabwe in AFCON 2025 qualifiers

Photo credit || Tiimothy Olobulu

Harambee Stars: Why Engin Firat is not underestimating Zimbabwe in AFCON 2025 qualifiers

Mark Kinyanjui 14:18 - 08.07.2024

Kenya have been placed in group J of the 2025 AFCON qualifiers alongside Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Namibia, but Firat has explained why The Warriors in particular will be tricky opponents.

The Kenya national football team Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat, has cautioned his team and fans against underestimating Zimbabwe in the upcoming 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

 Kenya has been drawn into Group J, alongside Namibia, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe, as they aim to qualify for their first AFCON tournament since 2019.

Despite Kenya's recent victories over Zimbabwe— a 3-1 win in the final of the Malawi Four Nations tournament and a 2-0 triumph in the COSAFA Cup 2024—Firat emphasizes the strength of the Zimbabwean team.

“We are in a tough group, especially Zimbabwe. They are only in pot four because they dropped down during the ban, but if you look at the quality of their players, most of them are playing in big leagues, such as the Turkish Super League,” Firat said in an interview with Pulse Sports following the draw.

Firat highlighted several Zimbabwean players who are making significant impacts in European leagues. 

"Marshall Munetsi is playing in France, Jordan Zemura is playing in Italy's Serie A. There are players in Ligue 1, and even players like Tino Kadewere. Others are playing in England, such as Leon Chiwome, who is in the Premier League with Wolves."

The coach warned that the quality of Zimbabwe's squad should not be underestimated.

 “They have some good players. Of course, people who don’t look at this do not realize how strong they are. The other teams, you know the quality of their squads. It will not be easy, but for us, it will not change anything.”

Firat remains confident in his team’s ability to compete against any opponent, particularly highlighting the squad's experience over the past 18 months.

 “We want to face every team the same way. We will do our best to succeed as soon as possible. The good thing about our team is we have now played many matches away from home, so we are not afraid of anyone.”

As the Harambee Stars gear up for the challenging qualifiers, Firat's message is clear: respect every opponent and approach each match with determination and confidence.

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