Nairobi — Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat says Kenya's journey to the 2026 FIFA World Cup remains on track, after Kenya thrashed Seychelles 5-0 in their second qualifier in Abidjan.
Stars had started their campaign with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Gabon, conceding a late goal, but the victory against Seychelles sees Kenya finish the first instalment of qualification matches third in Group F.
"We are the only team which played two consecutive away matches. Most of the teams played one home one away. We are still in the race even if we started with a loss. In June we have two home matches and these will put us in a good position," the tactician said after the victory against Seychelles.
He adds; "Everybody has now realized that this is a different Kenya, we are ready to compete and we are hungry. We are not happy with a loss and we always want to win."
Failure to earn a historic result
Looking back at the game against Seychelles, the tactician says the only downside to the performance was their failure to win by a bigger margin, having created many scoring chances.
"Kenyan football has a bright future. We played really well. The only disappointing thing is that we had many chances and we failed to get a historic result. In the end, if we continue like this in June, we will do better. Hopefuly we will not have injuries and we have more time to prepare," stated the coach.
He rued the loss to Gabon, saying the absence of several key players due to injury was a factor to the defeat.
"Normally, if we have our full team against Gabon, we would have had six points by now," the coach noted.
Nonetheless, he has heaped praise on the players who were given the opportunity to play, saying they showed their class, and has warned that no one is assured of a place.
Nobody assured of playing time
"We are a team and nobody expects to play all the time. Everyone has a chance and if someone is ready to play, they will get their opportunity. We saw Dennis (Ng'ang'a) who came in and did a very nice job," said the coach.
He adds; "Now we do our best to make a miracle from the coming matches but later, nothing will be a miracle. People can expect from us things never done before in Kenya."
Stars' next assignments in the World Cup qualifiers will be in June, with back to back home duels against group leaders Ivory Coast and Burundi.
Firat expects the team to have at least one friendly match over the next FIFA window in March.