Turkish citizen Engin Firat given two months to salvage national team’s 2022 Word Cup qualification
Newly appointed Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has expressed confidence that Kenya has the ability to qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
The Turkish national who was unveiled yesterday at Safari Park Hotel believes that there is quality in the team that is sufficient to have a shot at the global showpiece next year.
Flanked by Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa and CEO Barry Otieno, Firat was emphatic that his short stint in the country would bear fruits.
“ I am excited and motivated with this new project. I know the expectations are high but there is a chance to do something positive. I am hopeful and I am particularly impressed that the federation president and I share a vision. I will have time to look at the team and assess it ahead of the qualifiers. From where I sit, maybe Mali will be the only threat but we will figure out what to do,” said the ex- Moldovan national team coach who has been hired on an initial two-month contract.
Firat allied worries that two months is a short time to make an impact, arguing his experience at the top level will be his advantage:
“I want to assure the country that all is not lost because we have more games ahead.
My experience is solid and so I will get down to serious work with my technical bench to ensure we reach our target.
It is possible to qualify and that is our aim. For me I will not look at the length of time but what we can do in that period. I believe I will get 100 per cent support from everyone,” said Firat who was reportedly being eyed by the Turkish national team as well.
FKF boss Nick Mwendwa brushed aside questions of Firat’s qualifications as a non-issue. He pointed out Firat’s vast experience on top level international football a s an advantage.
“Both parties understand the nature of the agreement.We want to qualify for the world Cup and this is why changes had to be made.
We have a chance because there are more matches ahead. Firatbos a good fit because he exemplifies what we are looking for in the short term.
He understands what we want and he will therefore be helpful in that regard.”
Moldova is ranked 180 in the world while Kenya is 102. Under Firat, Moldova lost nine times in the last 11 matches and drew twice.
Firat’s immediate assignment will be against Mali away mid next month.The jury is still out if Firat will be the best replacement for recently resigned Jacob Mulee who was in charge for nine matches.
1.7 per game.
Among those leaders Mali will look to for goals is Moussa Marega, whose six for Porto in the last Champions League was bettered only by Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski. -AFP