Firat urges Kenya to build on Qatar performance

Harambee Stars Head Coach Engin Firat during a past media briefing. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Harambee Stars head coach, Engin Firat, returned to Nairobi wearing a big smile on his face on Saturday following their historic 2-1 victory over the 2022 World Cup hosts, Qatar.

France-based Joseph Okumu and Amos Nondi scored a goal each as Kenya stunned the Asian champions at their own backyard.

Firat, known for his composed demeanor, couldn't hide his delight as the team jetted back into the country.

“I don't know how it feels for the Kenyans but I know how it feels for the Kenyans in Qatar. Happy that they are proud and self-confident because I know how it is to live as a foreigner in another country," said Firat.

“After the match, they now have something that can even change their lives there because they can now go out with real pride.

The Turkish tactician, who took charge of Harambee Stars in 2022, was particularly full of praise for the more than 11,000 Kenyan fans who turned up at the stadium to witness their momentous win.

Firat emphasised that this victory was a significant milestone for Kenyan football, not only because it was against a formidable opponent like Qatar but also because it showcased the talent and potential within the Kenyan squad.

"We have a lot of promise in this team, and we are on the right path to achieving our goals in international football," he stated.

Firat expressed optimism ahead of Tuesday's friendly match against visiting South Sudan at Kasarani Stadium.

“We played well. Very well. One of the key aspects I am proud of is the way we have changed the way we play, especially building up from the back. We did not allow Qatar to press us at any given time which is a good thing.

“What is important for me is how the team is developing, players reacting to our tactical set plays as we continue building the team forward. The future is good,” said Firat.


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