Impassioned Firat rallies Kenyans behind Harambee Stars

FOOTBALL Impassioned Firat rallies Kenyans behind Harambee Stars

Kiplagat Sang • 17:00 - 19.03.2023

The tactician revealed his main objective while in charge of the national side.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has called on Kenyans to stop talking about immediate results and give him a chance to build a strong team for the future.

The tactician believes building a strong team will take time, but emphasized the importance of taking time to build a competitive side.

"Everyone is talking about results," Firat told the media during a Sunday press conference in Nairobi.

"If you do not face a strong team, how will you win? How will you be ready? We have been playing small teams because everyone wants results. Everyone is blaming anyone."

In stressing his point, Firat gave the example of Morocco and how the North African country invested heavily in its players and the subsequent competitive level they have reached now.

"Very big investment [by Morocco]. They have big stars outside, were good at the World Cup, and their teams have been dominant in the CAF competitions.

"If you want results, it takes time. Let us find a way to try and do our best in the current situation, but find a way of getting a better future so that our children can do better.

"Give us the time to develop the players. For once. Continue to blame me, but give us the time to change the poor past."

Firat also explained the choice to have Iran as Kenya’s friendly opponent in the upcoming FIFA international break.

"It does not matter what the results will be, I will be blamed after all. But I chose this game because I want the team to learn," he defended.

"It is not a match for results. This is a game to show which players can perform under pressure and which players are ready.

"I do not see scouts from Europe when I attend games. But if you play Iran, the stadium will be full, and there will be many scouts. Do not focus on results, focus on the development of players.

"I know Iran well. It has a lot of quality attacking players. They have a new coach [Carlos Queiroz was appointed before the World Cup] and expect them to play the full squad that was in the World Cup.

"We need to play these teams at this level because if we do not try at this level, we do not have a chance."

Ahead of the friendly, Firat will be encouraged by the scoring form that Michael Olunga and Benson Omala currently enjoy.

The friendly game will be played on March 28 in Tehran.