•Firat voiced his worry that his team would succumb to the temptation of underestimating the Pirates, who were humiliated 9-0 by Ivory Coast in their opening 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifying match.
•An earlier loss to the Panthers at the Stade de Renovation in Franceville on Thursday has piled pressure on the Kenyan team, who must win at least seven matches, to keep their qualification hopes alive.
Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has warned his team not to get complacent when they play Group ‘F’ underdogs Seychelles on Monday in the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
Firat voiced his worry that his team would succumb to the temptation of underestimating the Pirates, who were humiliated 9-0 by Ivory Coast in their opening 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifying match.
Harambee Stars are already in Cote d’Ivoire, where they will face Seychelles at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan this evening.
“Underrating Seychelles would be the biggest mistake we could make in the tournament,” Firat said.
“We need to approach the match with all the seriousness it deserves because there is no pushover in our group and football can be quite unpredictable at times,” he added.
The Turkish coach claimed they made use of their training sessions to close the gaps that saw them lose the opening game on Thursday against hosts Gabon. The hosts rallied from behind to claim a 2-1 victory.
Firat, however, reckons they gleaned invaluable lessons from their heart-wrenching defeat that will help them step up their campaign.
“We can’t afford to repeat the same mistakes we witnessed when we played Gabon on Thursday. I’ve asked the boys to make sure they do whatever is required of them on the pitch. They fully understand their roles and I hope they will deliver in the match,” Firat said.
An earlier loss to the Panthers at the Stade de Renovation in Franceville on Thursday has piled pressure on the Kenyan team, who must win at least seven matches, to keep their qualification hopes alive. Firat is convinced the Stars can bounce back emphatically in their next match against Seychelles on Monday. “We are going to Seychelles to win, there is no question about that,” Firat said.
“We need enough points to proceed to the next level. We need to try as much as we can to collect all the points we can from our matches,” he added.
Firat has given his players the confidence to effectively fill in for their teammates who are currently out due to injuries. Kenya missed the services of Joseph Okumu (Reims, France), Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma (AIK, Sweden), and Daniel Anyembe (Viborg, Denmark).
“Everyone who receives a call-up to the team needs to justify their inclusion. We give you a chance because you can do the job well,” Firat said.
“We were very unfortunate against Gabon and being beaten after taking the lead was very disappointing,” he added.
“But this does not change our mind for the future, so we have to focus on the next match. There will be many matches in our group and we’ll see what happens once we are through with them.”