Firat: I want to stay on as Harambee Stars coach

Engin Firat

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat reacts 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:

  • Firat said his players showed "great character" by playing well, despite the current developments in Kenya’s football.
  • "I am really proud of the boys that they were able to handle this situation..The psychological depression has been so much for the players. We did not know what would happen tomorrow because there were a lot of things happening. Even me I got confused so how about the players," he said.

Out-of-contract Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has said that he would like to continue with his job of handling the team.

The Turkish tactician made the statement on Monday after guiding Stars to a 2-1 win over the Amavubi of Rwanda in their final Group "E" 2022 World Cup qualifiers match.

Captain Michael Olunga and Richard Odada struck Kenya's goals in the first-half of the dead rubber clash that was staged at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

Oliver Niyonzima netted Rwanda's consolation goal in the second-half. It was Kenya's only victory in the group, whose other members were Uganda and Mali. Kenya finished third on six points, five above bottom-placed Rwanda.

Mali topped the pool on 16 points to qualify for the next round of the qualifiers. Uganda finished second on nine points.

Firat took over the Stars’ job on September 19 on a two-month contract, replacing Jacob "Ghost" Mulee.

He was impressed with Stars' performance in their last three matches of the World Cup qualifiers and admitted 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 Firat.

“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.”

The 51-year-old tactician came under fire from Kenyans when Stars lost 5-0 to Mali in Morocco in October.

While Stars improved in their display in the return leg against the West African nation in Nairobi, they still fell by a solitary goal.

“When I came here, of course I did not have much knowledge of the players in our first squad…It was a big shock to me and I learned from the mistakes. Since then we have brought so many new talents in the team,” said the Turkish tactician after the 5-0 loss to Mali.

Against Uganda last Thursday, Stars were headed to a victory until goalkeeper Brian Bwire’s howler allowed Fahad Bayo to score a controversial goal in the dying minutes of the match at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende.

Firat said his players showed "great character" by playing well, despite the current developments in Kenya’s football.

"I am really proud of the boys that they were able to handle this situation..The psychological depression has been so much for the players. We did not know what would happen tomorrow because there were a lot of things happening. Even me I got confused so how about the players," he said.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.