Uproar as Harambee Stars fail to shine again

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021 00:00 |
Engin Firat Kenya Harambee Stars Coach.

Kenya were bundled out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers following an ignominious 6-0 aggregate defeat to the Les Aigles of Mali. 

As Kenyan football fans continue to  moan over perennial mediocrity of national football team, Harambee Stars, history will judge Football Kenya Federation harshly for goofing in the appointment of the team’s head coach.

Stars were unceremoniously bundled out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers following an ignominious 1-0 defeat by Mali in the Group E return match at the Nyayo National Stadium last Sunday.

But the writing was already on the wall for the rag-tag Stars when they were humiliated 5-0 by the Les Aigles (Eagles) in the first leg match in Morocco last Thursday.

In both matches against Mali, Stars were akin to live but headless chickens destined for slaughter thus giving the Eagles an almost realistic chance of grabbing their first ever ticket to the World Cup.

As it stands, any glimmer of hope Stars had to qualify for the global showcase has  gone up in smoke and shall be playing their two remaining fixtures against Rwanda’s Amavubi (home) and Uganda Cranes as mere formalities.

Following the 6-0 aggregate win over Kenya, Mali leads the qualifying group with 10 points followed by Uganda with eight. Kenya have two points while Rwanda are trailing with a single point.

Already, accusing fingers have been pointed at FKF for gambling with Stars technical bench by hiring Turkish coach Engin Firat, the former coach of lowly Moldova, whose credentials are questionable.

In a nutshell, the attributes are neither here nor there and especially after he fielded several players in an unfamiliar position which led to the massive rout in Morocco.

This begs the question: What was the rationale behind the federation hiring a tactician who is not acquainted with the local game?

Another debrief:  Why did the federation not take the trouble of head-hunting for an experienced local coach who knows the players well for the sake of continuity?  

A sizable number of the stakeholders, and rightly so, have been calling for the resignation of the federation’s president Nick Mwendwa who oversaw the hiring of the expatriate tactician to replace Jacob “Ghost” Mulee.

Firat had earlier apologised to fans following one of the most embarrassing defeats ever suffered by Harambee Stars in an international event in recent times.

He went ahead to promise an improved show, which never came, even after he hypothesized that he takes full blame for the indifferent results that has seen Kenya virtually bow out of the qualifiers.

He said lack of full knowledge of the extraction of each of the players was the bane of Stars loss to the Malians in the first leg clash.

“I did not know the players well but now I do. In hindsight, we would have been in a better position to qualify had we beaten Mali away and at home,’’ said Firat.

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