Engin Firat heads home after his Harambee Stars contract ends

Michael Olunga

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat (left) with skipper Michael Olunga during their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Rwanda at the Nyayo National Stadium on November 15, 2021.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • He recommended that the national team should have up to 40 players, where 20 form the main squad, while the other 10 are those who can be called to fill the gap when a member of the main squad is unavailable.
  • The remaining 10 should be young players who are part of the Under-21 national team.

Out-of-contract Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has left the country for his motherland - Turkey.

This comes barely a day after he expressed interest in continuing with his job of handling the national team after guiding Kenya to a 2-1 win over Rwanda in their dead rubber 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Firat, 51, is reported to have left the country on Tuesday at 5am.

“He (Firat) left this morning,” said Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Communication Director Pharis Kumaru.

“As per the contract he signed, he was to be in charge of the four World Cup qualifiers matches, which are now over. His contract was supposed to be reviewed after the matches, but that is not happening now because of the obvious reasons.”

“His future will be decided at a later date.”

The Justice Aaron Ringera (Rtd) led Caretaker Committee is expected to decide on his fate with national team.

Monday's win was his only victory in the four matches that he took charge of.

It was also Kenya’s only victory in Group "E", which Mali topped on 16 points to advance to the play-offs.

Uganda finished second on nine points, three above third-placed Kenya, while Rwanda finished last on one point.

The Turkish tactician had a rude welcome to the job when Stars lost 5-0 to Mali in Morocco in October. It was his first assignment with the national team and he blamed the poor performance on “not having known most of the players”.

While Stars improved in their display in the return leg against Mali, they still fell by a solitary goal. Against Uganda last Thursday, Stars were headed to a victory but goalkeeper Brian Bwire’s howler gifted the hosts an equaliser in the dying minutes of the match played at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende.

Speaking on Monday after guiding Kenya to victory over Rwanda, Firat said that he was impressed with Stars' performance in their last three matches of the World Cup qualifiers and that he would like to continue building the team for future assignments.

“To be honest, I see a big future and potential in this country…Remember I said that if I don’t see any future, then there is no need of staying. But these boys have shown the potential and that is all a coach can ask for and therefore I am interested to stay,” said the tactician.

“Everybody who is not blind can see that this team has a very bright future. Don’t forget all these boys are 20 or 21 years old. At this age, they can still play for 10 more years.”

He noted that if his contract is extended, he will prioritise injecting new blood in the national team.

The Turkish tactician further believes the establishment of proper structures for the team’s development is the solution to the free-fall of Kenyan football.

He recommended that the national team should have up to 40 players, where 20 form the main squad, while the other 10 are those who can be called to fill the gap when a member of the main squad is unavailable.

The remaining 10 should be young players who are part of the Under-21 national team.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.