- Firat said he was surprised at how poorly Harambee Stars played against Mali
- Regardless, the coach apologized to Kenyans for the crushing 5-0 defeat
- Kenya remain third in their group, with qualification hopes fast slipping away
- A hat trick from Ibrahima Kone, as well as goals from Adama Traore and Mousa Doumbia, were enough to subject Firat to defeat in his first game in charge
Engin Firat, the Harambee Stars head coach, has issued an apology to Kenyans after an embarrassing defeat in the World Cup qualifier against Mali on Thursday, October 7.
Kenya endured arguably one of the worst games the Harambee Stars played in recent years at the Agadir Stadium in Morocco in a disastrous first half which saw them concede four goals.
While speaking to the media after the match, Firat, who took over from Jacob Ghost Mulee on a two-month deal, took full responsibility for the defeat.
"I take the opportunity to apologise to Kenya fans [especially] for the first half," Firat, a Turkish international, said.
"If [fans] want to blame somebody then it should be me. But the [players] should be left to concentrate on [the Sunday match against the same opponent]. I need the [players] to have their minds free... for the match."
Kenya currently sits third in Group E with two points from their opening three matches.
In the first two games, they drew with Uganda and Rwanda in 0-0 and 1-1 , respectively under the guidance of Jacob Mulee.
Firat went on to express some optimism that Kenya can potentially spring a surprise in the return match against the same opponents on Sunday, October 10.
“We therefore have to improve, why I’m angry and disappointed is because what I saw does not reflect my team. It is not what I have seen in training. If this was reflection of their capacity, I would say nothing, but these boys are much better,” he went on.
Notably, this was Harambee Stars’s worst defeat in 14 years, when they lost 5-1 to Morocco during the 2006 World Cup qualifiers.
Source: Sports Brief News