FIRAT AMBITIOUS

Harambee Stars coach tips his charges to shine at 2025 Afcon qualifiers

Kenya was placed in Group J alongside the Indomitable Lions, the Brave Warriors of Namibia, and the Warriors of Zimbabwe.

In Summary

•The Turkish gaffer tipped his charges to surmount the revered West African behemoths who already boast five Afcon titles tucked away in 1984, 1988, 2000, 2002, and 2017.

•The qualifiers have been scheduled to run from September to November this year.

Harambee Stars' defender Alphonce Omija in action action with Ivorian winger Simon Adingra during a World Cup qualifier match at Bingu Stadium in Malawi on June 11
Harambee Stars' defender Alphonce Omija in action action with Ivorian winger Simon Adingra during a World Cup qualifier match at Bingu Stadium in Malawi on June 11
Image: HANDOUT

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat reckons Cameroon will not pose an enormous threat to their 2025 Africa Cup of Nations aspirations.

Kenya was placed in Group J alongside the Indomitable Lions, the Brave Warriors of Namibia and the Warriors of Zimbabwe during a draw held in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday.

In an interview, the Turkish gaffer tipped his charges to surmount the revered West African behemoths who already boast five Afcon titles tucked away in 1984, 1988, 2000, 2002, and 2917.

"Will Kenya beat Cameroon? That's difficult to predict. Football has evolved so much and it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict the outcome of any match. It would be misleading to consider us as tournament underdogs," Firat remarked.

"Who could have imagined Burundi would make our lives more difficult compared to Ivory Coast at the World Cup qualifiers in Malawi last month? All teams have the potential to thrive in the qualifiers," he added.

Firat said he spotted incredible talent in the Emerging Stars squad that held brief for the nation at the ongoing 2024 Cosafa Cup in South Africa.

The Kenya Under-23 team made a huge statement in the competition after defeating Zimbabwe and Zambia by identical scores of 2-0. However, their 2-0 loss to Comoros hampered their headway in the contest.

"We have some brilliant youngsters who will be instrumental in Kenya's 2025 and 2027 Afcon campaigns. Some several budding footballers displayed immense potential in the tournament," Firat stated.

"We will not hesitate to use this incredible pool of talent in the coming days," he added.

The qualifiers have been scheduled to run from September to November, where 24 teams will punch the coveted tickets to the 35th edition of the biennial continental football showpiece, scheduled for December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026, in Morocco.

48 teams have been divided into 12 Groups of 4 teams each. Other than the pool involving hosts Morocco, all the other winners and runners-up in the remaining 11 groups will qualify for the 2025 Afcon finals.

Reigning African champions Ivory Coast have been pooled in Group G alongside Zambia, Siera Leone, and Chad.

Host nation Morocco will flex muscles with Gabon, Central Africa Republic, and Lesotho in Group B.

Kenya last featured at the 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt where they got eliminated in the group stage.

 

AFCON 2025 QUALIFIERS

Group A; Gambia, Comoros, Madagascar, Tunisia

Group B: Lesotho, Central Africa Republic, Gabon, Morocco

Group C: Egypt, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Botswana

Group D: Nigeria, Benin, Libya, Rwanda

Group E: Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Liberia

Group F: Ghana, Angola, Sudan, Niger

Group G: Ivory Coast, Zambia, Sieraleone, Chad

Group H: DR Congo, Guinea, Tanzania, Ethiopia

Group I; Mali, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Eswatini

Group J; Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Namibia

Group K; South Africa, Uganda, Congo, South Sudan

Group L:Senegal, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Burundi