Give me time! Harambee Stars coach Firat tells Kenyans

Harambee Stars captain Engin Firat.[Jonah Onyango,Standard]

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has urged Kenyans to give him time and support to build a strong national team that can compete at the highest level of football internationally.

Speaking during a press conference since arriving back into the country on March 1, Firat said he will not sell false hopes of quick results but called on Kenyans to take a step back and look at the situation on the ground.

Firat said lack of top matches for the national team, and the poor state of sports infrastructure are costing Kenya in terms of football development.

“We talk about winning and results but we forget about the reality on the ground.

“Have we invested in our youth structures, do we have FIFA standard football stadiums outside Nairobi County? Can Harambee Stars host an international match outside Nairobi?

“It is very serious that we have never played a top European team leave alone our local clubs qualifying for the CAF Champions League since 19980s,” Firat posed.

Benson Omalla (left) trains alongside Patrick Matasi.[FKF]

The 52-year-old tactiocian said he is planning to invest heavily in youth structures building on to the senior Harambee Stars team.

“We have to wake up. We have to start a fresh but wisely by establishing a strong under-20, and 23 sides, which will then feed the senior team with top players. We cannot play without a system,” said Firat.

Last week, Firat named a 30-man provisional squad that will face Iran next week.

Gor Mahia striker Benson Omala who tops the FKF Premier League top scorers list with 19 goals headlines the team’s attack alongside Qatar-based Michael Olunga.

“Iran is a highly ranked nation and they will provide the perfect test for Kenya. It is not about results for now but exposure to high intensity games as we plan to start playing high ranked nations where we can pick a few lessons and improve,” he said.

Kenya face Iran on March 28.

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