‘Stick with Firat despite pressure’ – ex-Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards star tells FKF
Former Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards goalkeeper Mathew Ottamax has called on the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to stick with Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat.
Firat has come under renewed criticism following a recent 1-0 defeat to South Sudan in an international friendly played at Kasarani on Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
The loss to the Bright Stars came after Kenya dispatched Qatar 2-1 in a previous friendly in Doha.
"Federation, don't you guys bow to unnecessary pressure. This is one of the best-assembled Harambee Stars in a very long time," Ottamax said in a statement.
Apart from sticking with Firat, Ottamax told the FA what they must do in order to help build a competitive national team.
"Now constitute the U17 team and give them to Firat on a steady, constant regiment. By this, I mean youth tournaments all over the world.
"By the time they transition to the senior team, and that is 3 to 4 years as the likes of [Michael] Olunga exit, we will be conquering Africa," he continued.
The former Harambee Stars goalkeeper also hit back at the fans, who only stick with the team when it wins and are quick to turn against it when they post a poor result.
"Harambee Stars playing at home is made difficult because we have a lot of negative energy towards our boys and from supposed fans.
"I keenly and analytically followed those two recent matches. The team brought some rays of hope to our football, and I believe something is in the offing.
"That guy [Firat] you're calling a plumber has something under his sleeve. He just needs time," he added.
He went on to urge the Harambee Stars to keep going despite criticism and asked the players to work hard and prove critics wrong.
"Harambee Stars players, when you are given that jersey, have faith in yourself; believe, just like I believe in you, that you are the best at that particular moment.
"Just remember, you are facing opponents on the pitch and antagonists in the stands. All that is left of you is to fight; don't prove it!
"Some of us have a lot of faith in you. Sorry for the unfortunate loss against South Sudan. We've seen criticisms left, right, and centre, that should not cow you but spur you to inflict a deep scratch on your next opponent!" he concluded.
The next assignment for Kenya is a World Cup qualifier in November.