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Did FKF officials influence Harambee Stars' squad selection? Firat clears the air

8:51 pm AEDT 26/11/21
Harambee Stars and Kenya coach Engin Firat.
The tactician guided the team in four matches, winning one, drawing one, and losing twice

Coach Engin Firat has rubbished claims he was forced to field some players in his brief stint with Harambee Stars.

The Turkish was appointed Kenya coach on September 19 on a two-month contract. He went on to guide the team twice against Mali, Uganda, and Rwanda in Group E World Cup qualifiers.

His worst defeat was the double-header against the Eagles where he conceded a total of six goals without reply, before drawing 1-1 and beating Amavubi 2-1 to finish third in the group.

Did FKF officials influence squad selection?

That is not true. I spoke with my assistant and of course, it’s a short period I can only invite players that I checked on InStat Scout and Wyscout and I cannot tell which characters they have and so on," Firat told GOAL.

"What I can say is that some players told me that people from outside called them and made them a little bit confused. I don’t know the details and cannot prove anything at this point. Maybe it's normal, I don’t know but nobody ever influenced my squad. If something went wrong, it's my mistake because, against Mali, I didn’t know the characteristics of the players."

Stars players with great future

The former Moldova coach believes the East Africa nation has players who can have a massive impact on Harambee Stars in the future.

"While I was in charge, a lot of players played under me for the very first time in Kenya," Firat continued.

"There are several young players in the national team. I think 17 years old Timothy Ouma played both matches with me, he has a bright future and this is one of the examples I don’t understand in Kenya because if a foreigner can come and see a 17-year-old who has a lot of potentials, so why is he not given a chance even in the junior national team.

"We have a lot of players like this. We have Richard Odada who is 21 – these are some of the reasons why I wanted to stay and work with them because I’m sure these boys are ready to learn and hungry to play. Also with them, we can really have a strong Kenyan national team."

Firat has insisted he would love to continue coaching Harambee Stars.