Firat: Kenya can qualify for 2030 World Cup
Kenya coach Engin Firat has said the government’s ambitious dream of Harambee Stars qualifying for the 2030 World Cup is achievable if the team is well prepared.
The Cabinet on December 6 approved bidding to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, jointly with other East African nations, noting that it would go a long way in helping Kenya qualify for the World Cup.
Firat, who is on his second stint with Stars after his two-month tenure in 2021, admitted that Kenya stood a good chance of featuring at the 2030 World Cup, especially now that the global football spectacle had been increased from a 32 to a 48 nations affair.
Under the new format, Africa is guaranteed nine slots and possibly 10 through a play-off.
“There is nothing, which can really stop us from qualifying in 2030 as long as we are doing the right steps,” says Firat.
“I don’t want to sell to you false dreams but face reality, and think about how we can go and make the dream come true.”
The Turk is currently preparing Harambee Stars for a an international friendly match against Iran in Tehran on Tuesday.
Kenya featured in an eight-team Afcon in 1972 (Cameroon), 1988 (Morocco) and 1990 (Algeria).
With this in mind, many Kenyans believe the expanded World Cup offers Kenya a good chance to grace the global championships for the first time in history.
“It is very much possible, as long as we have the right people with knowledge and experience at the right places,” said veteran coach Bob Oyugi.
Firat has called for patience from Kenyans as he looks to improve Stars’ fortunes.
He said the team will only register positive results at the highest level if it constantly plays against tougher opponents. He said the having players featuring in the top leagues abroad would also help.
He has also emphasized on the need of the country to have proper sports infrastructure across the country and a strong youth programme that will feed the senior team with talented players.
Speaking in Nairobi on October 30 last year, former Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer said Kenya will only stand a chance of featuring in the World Cup of it strengthens its domestic football leagues.
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