Coach Firat pleads with State to back national soccer team

Tuesday, July 18th, 2023 11:00 | By
Engin Firat Kenya Harambee National Team Coach with William Muluhya and Ken Odhiambo in Rabbat Morrocco
Engin Firat Kenya Harambee National Team Coach with William Muluhya and Ken Odhiambo in Rabbat Morrocco. PHOTO/David Ndolo

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat says he is more than ready to move mountains and attempt to deliver Kenya to the promised land; a FIFA World Cup ticket that has been for long seemed to be a miracle.

When the CAF 2026 World Cup qualification pools were announced on July 13, many local football enthusiasts poured their opinions on social media platforms. Some have given the national team a chance to give a good show while others have shown little or no hope completely.

However, whilst their ambivalent opinions regarding Kenya’s potential, coach Firat believes that his team is ripe to battle Ivory Coast, Gabon, Gambia, Burundi and Seychelles in Group F matches of the Qualifiers as he seeks to break the jinx in this campaign.

“To make it clear in our plans that we want to push until the last second of the assignments. We hope that we can do it to make a miracle because, in the history of Kenya, we have never been even close to a World Cup qualification in any age group.

This is our aim, to make history in Kenyan football. If we get the right support, I believe in my boys, myself, and the support of Kenyan people that we can achieve what has been for long viewed to be a miracle,” Firat told People Sport.

He states that even as he looks into the future, there will be no excuse for Harambee Stars missing to feature at the African Cup of Nations and the country should be a regular at the continental tourney.

The Turkish tactician further noted that going into crucial meaningful matches, government financial backing will be key for the success of the team.

“We have big financial problems because we don’t really get adequate financial support. We stay in lower-class hotels, lower class in everything, only to save money.  And this doesn’t help in the preparations because when you need success you need also good preparations, which means we need good training camps at a level deserved by Kenya’s national team in order to have a chance to compete with other teams.

I know now teams like Ivory Coast have huge financial support especially now that they are hosting AFCON and therefore in this case, we also need to have a fair chance of preparations compared to our rivals.” Firat added.

Regarding Kenya’s opponent on the road to the 2026 global showpiece, the former Moldova national team coach says he is not shaken by any opposition in group F and states that any team in that Pool can win or lose against either opponent.

“It is a very balanced Group; this means there will be no team going up in an easy way. I think everybody can win or lose against each other and I believe only some details will decide between the teams and it will go on till the last match.

I promise to the Kenya football fans that we will fight till the last seconds and I know the boys are hungry and ready when this tournament starts”. He added.

The coach has refuted claims that he had previously said that Kenya had little chance in the World Cup qualifiers as reported in one of the local newspapers.

More on Sports