Matano unleashes tirade on Firat's tactical 'ineptitude' and 'misguided' Harambee Stars player selection

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Matano unleashes tirade on Firat's tactical 'ineptitude' and 'misguided' Harambee Stars player selection

Festus Chuma 16:00 - 23.06.2024

The self-declared ‘lion of Kenyan football’ has criticized Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat's player selections during the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Fire-spitting Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano has reignited controversy over national team selections by openly criticizing Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat’s choices during the recent 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Matano’s dissatisfaction stems from the matches against Burundi and Ivory Coast which ended in a 1-1 draw and a goalless draw respectively.

The self-declared ‘lion of Kenyan football’ questioned the inclusion of certain players who have not been regulars in their domestic clubs.

Specifically, he pointed out the late call-up of Kenya Police defender David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng, who has seen limited action in the FKF Premier League this season.

"When they called Miheso and Cheche, that's when we failed. If you want to bring in experience, choose a player who has been playing consistently, week in and week out," Matano said during an interview on Radio 47.

Matano did not mince words about the decisions made by Firat and his technical team suggesting that their approach to match preparation was flawed.

"Such a player will fit directly into the team. Experience matters a lot, but sometimes it cannot help if you bring in players who aren't currently active," he added.

"They were wrong to call Cheche. Gor Mahia won the league and has two good stoppers; Homeboyz has one; KCB has two; Bandari and Kariobangi Sharks each have another good player," he noted, listing potential candidates that were overlooked in favor of Ochieng.

Matano also brought a personal angle into his critique revealing his long-standing connection with Ochieng.

"Cheche is my product, as I raised him when he was a young player. If the coaches wanted experience from Kenya Police, they could have gone for Musa Mohammed, who has been playing consistently," he concluded.

These criticisms come on the heels of another outburst from Matano a fortnight ago when he slammed the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) for its selection of coaches for the national team.

He criticized local tacticians who support Firat, labeling them and the federation's choices as a collaboration of underachievers.

Kenya sits third in their group with five points, trailing Gabon with six points and group leaders Ivory Coast with ten.

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