Firat: No-one else has achieved as much with Kenya

Firat: No-one else has achieved as much with Kenya
Kenya head coach Engin Firat. EPA/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH

by Staff Reporter

Wednesday May 15, 2024. 13:09

Kenya head coach Engin Firat claims he has taken the team to new heights and wants to make history by guiding them to the World Cup for the first time.

The Turkish tactician was appointed to the helm in September 2021, initially on a two-month contract before agreeing to a long-term extension with the Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

Firat had to navigate a nine-month FIFA ban with the Harambee Stars in 2022 and was further hampered by not being able to play home games in Kenya due to inadequate facilities.

However, the 53-year-old still managed to achieve some success with the East Africans, winning a Four Nations tournament in March this year, while beating Asian champions Qatar and drawing with Russia away from home in 2023.

Firat has now set his sights on qualifying for the 2026 World Cup and is looking ahead to next month’s Group F encounters against Burundi and Ivory Coast, having picked up three points from the opening two matches.

“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,” he told 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.

“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.

“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.”

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