Turkish coach Firat says he has faith with the local based players ahead of crucial 2022 World Cup qualifier

Saturday, October 2nd, 2021 00:00 | By
Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat talks to players and members of his technical bench before training on Friday. INSET: Firat talks to journalists at Utalii Grounds. Photo/PD/RODGERS NDEGWA

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has disclosed that he has set up a deliberate policy to give upcoming players a chance to realize their talents in the national team.

“I’m a firm believer in continuity and that is exactly the reason why I summoned a large pool of young players for the upcoming back to back World Cup qualifiers against Mali.

You see, when you give them an opportunity, they shall gel in the team together and this is the way to get the desired results,” he said on Friday.

Firat said he knows most of the country’s football enthusiasts were surprised at his selection of players and hastened to add that this is his philosophy moving forward.

“They may have been taken aback when for instance I named Eric Zakayo in the squad but this is one of the most talented youngsters in the country. The rest of the greenhorns dotting the team as well,” said Firat.

The tactician also deemed it fit to incorporate other younger players who have the experience of having previously represented the country at the international level.

“Look at a player like Lokale (Sydney). The forward has donned the country’s colours before and has a big physique which is good for football as it can enable him to bully opponents defence lines.  These are the kind of players I wanted to work with,” said Firat.

On the upcoming qualifiers against Mali, Firat said that they will not be cowed by one of Africa’s football powerhouse in as much the depth in the two teams are worlds apart.

“I have told the players not to chicken and all what I want from them is a high level of discipline and dedication to duty.

Although I did not have enough time to prepare the team, I think we can conjure up a descent result against Mali,” he said.

Stars entered their first residential training on Thursday with all the attendees being locally based players.

Their foreign-based counterparts set to join the camp yesterday save for Abud Omar, Stanley Okumu, Eric Ouma, Richard Odada, and Ismael Gonzalez who will link up with the team in Morocco.

Firat commented on his first residential training session with the players ahead of the back-to-back 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier matches against Mali. Stars held their second training session on Friday with Firat saying he has ben impressed with what he has seem amongst players.

“We have had a good session with the players and we will be working extensively to build a team that can gain a positive result both and home and away,” said Firat.

Stars play Mali away, in Morocco, on October 7, before traveling back for the home match on October 10, 2021. The team leaves for Morocco on October 4, 2021.

Kenya is currently second on the standings on two points, two behind leaders Mali, and level on points with Uganda.

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