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Harambee Stars coach Firat hints at extending stay

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has hinted at extending his stay with the team.

The Turkish coach recently joined the team on a two-month contract which expires at the end of November.

Now 51, Firat has lost his two matches at the helm by 5-0 and 1-0 against Mali in Nairobi and Morocco respectively, in the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualification campaign.

But then, while addressing journalists on Monday in Nairobi when he commenced preps ahead of the remaining matches in the competition away to Uganda and home to Rwanda on November 11 and 15, Firat addressed the importance of ‘preparing for the future’.

The experienced trainer also expressed confidence in picking his first win in the upcoming engagements.

“I’ve assembled a team of experienced and young players. The team understands my objective and they have to play successful football in these last two qualifiers so that we can win,” said Firat.

“We’ve to focus on players, some who don’t play in the local league so as to build a team for the future. We have to start talking to them early enough so as to prepare for different competitions.”

Stars captain Michael Olunga has also rallied his teammates to beat Uganda.

“It’s going to be a good game and we have to give our level best in the two encounters. Every time we play against Uganda it is not easy more so now that they have a chance to make it to Qatar. The coach has handed opportunities to young players in the local league and it is important we get an impressive result over there,” said Olunga.

In a related development, Firat will largely have to do with a second-string defense following the absence of Brian Mandela Joseph Okumu, and Joash Onyango.

Also missing in action is Masoud Juma who is based in Morocco, and Tusker’s Brian Muchiri.

Nairobi News understands Onyango, who was played in an unfamiliar right-back role during Kenya’s 5-0 spanking at the hands of Mali, has elected to remain with his club, Tanzania’s Simba SC and impress upon the new coach ahead of the Caf Confederation Cup play-off later this month.

Besides, Okumu, who turned out for Genk in the Belgium league at the weekend, plus Mandela, Juma, and Muchiri are said to be injured.

Thus, Tirat has summoned Kenya Police duo Clifton Miheso and Musa Mohammed as alternatives.