What you need to know:
- The team under the tutelage of Turkish coach Engin Firat held their last training session in Kenya on Friday morning at Mpesa Foundation in Thika after being in camp for the last five days
- Kenya will play its first match on June 11 against Djibouti before facing Pakistan on June 14
- Firat said that he is giving new players a chance to gain international experience in order to build a strong team that can make Kenya become a football powerhouse in future
A 23-man Harambee Stars squad departs the country at 4am on Saturday morning for Mauritius where they will participate in the Four Nations Tournament from June 11 to 18.
Mauritius, Kenya, Djibouti and Pakistan will participate in the tournament.
Harambee Stars will connect to Mauritius via Johannesburg, South Africa aboard Kenyan Airways plane.
The team under the tutelage of Turkish coach Engin Firat held their last training session in Kenya on Friday morning at Mpesa Foundation in Thika after being in camp for the last five days.
Kenya will play its first match on June 11 against Djibouti before facing Pakistan on June 14. Harambee Stars will then play its last game against hosts Mauritius on June 18.
Firat said that he is giving new players a chance to gain international experience in order to build a strong team that can make Kenya become a football powerhouse in future.
“The boys are going to show their capabilities and get international experience. We have a long-term programme and will be focusing on the future, be it 10 or 15 years because many of these players are still young,” said Firat.
“This is tournament is for me to see how the boys can perform and give them a chance to get experience. We lost some of the key players for this tournament but each individual player in this team has to take responsibility and perform. I want to see how many players perform so as to count on them when important matches come up,” said Firat.
The Turkish coach has reinforced his technical bench by appointing Keynan Atik as the third assistant coach after Ken Odhiambo and William Muluya. Firat also announced that he had incorporated in his technical bench, Adem Koyuncu as physiotherapist and Tolgahan Tuglu as the Team Manager.
“Keynan was assistant coach in Turkey and Indonesia and knows how to develop young talents. We have a new physiotherapist to help us adapt to more professional ways and our new Team Manager will bring new relations to our side and also help put our name out there through his networks,” said Firat.
Kenya is preparing for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers set for November. They will know their opponents when the draw for the for the qualification stage is conducted on July 12 in Cotonou, Benin.
Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga and midfielder Richard Odada echoed Firat's sentiments saying the tournament will give new players who have been excelling in the local league a chance to get international experience. The duo exuded confidence that Kenya will do well in the tournament.
“We will try to avoid the mistakes we made in the Iran friendly where we conceded through set pieces. It is always an honour to represent Kenya and we should use this match well to prepare for both World Cup and Afcon qualifiers. They are learning matches,” said Olunga.
Odada, who plies his trade with Philadelphia Union in USA said: “I’m happy to interact with the new faces in the team and play football. We will play to win the three matches and I’m ready to give 100 percent."