‘We broke many records’ - Firat blows his own trumpet over Harambee Stars stint

‘We broke many records’ - Firat blows his own trumpet over Harambee Stars stint

Joel Omotto 07:00 - 15.05.2024

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has bragged about his spell with the national team, claiming Kenya has enjoyed more success under him than any other coach in history.

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has claimed that he has lifted the standards of Kenyan football since his appointment in September 2021.

Firat has shared how he found Kenyan football in dire straits when he joined, initially on a two-month contract before being given an extension, and how he had to start from scratch to lift it to where it is now.

The Turkish tactician said Kenya’s nine-month FIFA ban, between February and November 2022, greatly hampered his work but he still managed to assemble a good team that has gone on to enjoy a victory against Qatar, a draw with Russia as well as winning the Four-Nations tournament.

“One of the problems is that we played all our matches away because we do not have a FIFA-approved stadium at the moment. This was a serious test to establish a new team, but the boys went through the process well,” Firat told Turkish outlet Anadolu Agency.

“We played against strong teams that Kenya is not used to. We beat Asian champion Qatar away and drew away with Russia. Things are going positive for us in the national team.”

Firat says he is the Harambee Stars coach with the best record in the history of the national team and is hoping to crown it with World Cup qualification and success at the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, which the country will co-host alongside neighbours Uganda and Tanzania.

“We broke many records in this process and won five away matches in the last year. No one has achieved this in Kenyan history. There is even a coach who has been on duty for 10 years, but he has not seen five away wins,” added Firat.

“We experienced this in one year. We won a cup in a special tournament in March. One of our biggest goals is the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations, which will be held in our country in 2027.”

The Harambee Stars coach also did not resist another dig at the Kenyan league, whose standards he has complained about since his appointment.

“The Kenyan league is not of the quality we want. Especially since the stadiums and fields are not in good condition, the players cannot truly reflect their talents on the field, which causes the quality of the league to decrease,” said Firat.

“I hope that if more investments come from sponsors from now on, clubs will also have the chance to make a move in this regard.”

Firat has an opportunity to back up his words with results next month when Harambee Stars take on Burundi and African champions Ivory Coast in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

With Kenya lacking a FIFA-approved stadium, Harambee Stars will host their rivals in Malawi in the June 8 and 11 matches.

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