Turkish Firat unveiled as Harambee Stars coach
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has on Sunday named Turkish trainer Engin Firat as the new Harambee Stars head coach on a two-month contract.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa announced that Firat will be in charge of the national team for the next four 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, before a decision to extend his stay or not is made.
“We wanted someone who can look at the task and be prepared for it. We were not looking for someone who would be here for three-four years but we wanted someone who can help us in these qualifiers,” said Mwendwa.
According to Firat, he wants to be in the Qatar World Cup and fulfilment of the desire, or not, will determine if his next step after the two months.
“This is an interesting project and I am glad to be here, hopefully, we succeed. Kenya is a good football nation and I am looking forward to work here,” he said.
Mwendwa also showed in his comments that FKF was ‘lucky’ to have Firat, saying his calibre cannot be easily attracted in a country of Kenya’s rank within Africa.
Asked if he felt disadvantaged by the fact that Stars has already dropped points by drawing Uganda and Rwanda in the qualifiers, Firat was at ease to commit to fight for the ticket within the four remaining fixtures.
“I wouldn’t have come here if I felt there is no chance, so I’m working to get the best in the remaining matches hoping to qualify,” the former Moldova coach said.
He defended his poor record with Moldova where he won no match in 11 outings, saying he is proud of the results he registered against some strong oppositions in Europe.
“Moldova is not a footballing nation. Playing high-level teams in Europe and drawing some of them does not necessarily reflect the capability of a coach,” he noted.
With the FKF retaining most of the technical bench members of the coaches who worked with dismissed coach Mulee, Firat hopes to have an easy time to understand the squad.
“Nowadays you don’t need to have been with a team for long to know them. There are ways to follow up on players but also I am working with coaches who have been here,” he offered, singling out Mali as the major opponents in their Qatar campaign.
The coach also hinted at bringing in some foreign-based players who have been out of the squad in Mulee’s tenure, saying he has talked with Mwendwa about it.
Kenya will play Mali away in Agadir, Morocco on October 6 before the return leg in Nairobi four days later, in Firat’s first two duties.
Meanwhile, former Gor Mahia goalkeeper Jerim Onyango has been drafted in as the goalkeeper trainer, replacing Haggai Azande who was sacked alongside Twahir Muhiddin and Mulee.