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Harambee Stars coach Firat names team to play Iran

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Harambee Stars players line up before a past training session
  • The friendly match will be played at 8pm in Tehran
  • This is Kenya’s first game since November 2021
  • Victor Omune will make his debut

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has named the starting team to play Iran in a friendly match in Tehran on Tuesday evening. This will be Kenya’s first international match since November 2021, when they played Rwanda in a 2022 World Cup Qualifer.

Kenya had been suspended for slightly over a year due to government interference.

IN the team to play Iran in Tehran, coach Firat has handed a full debut to AFC Leopards forward Victor Omune.

The AFC Leopards man has been rewarded for his good form at club level and will start in a front three that will be led by skipper Michael Olunga and Masud Juma.

Omune is among three local based players who will start the match.

At the same time, Firat has preferred Amos Nondi to start on the right side of defense, the former Gor Mahia midfielder having also played in the same position during Firat’s last two games in charge.

Matasi to start in goal

New Kenya Police FC signing Patrick Matasi will start his first match for the national team in between the sticks since the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Brian Mandela and Joseph Okumu will be in central defense with  Teddy Akumu and Richard Odada manning the midfield.

Meanwhile, coach Firat says his focus for the game will be building up a team and not necessarily getting a result.

People are talking about winning and getting a result and I don’t understand. For me winning is not my aim. The point is for the players to understand where we are and where we need to go,” the tactician stated.

He added; “This match for us is to learn and show character and we see as a team how we can work against a top team in the world. When was the last time Kenya faced a tough team in a friendly match?”

Iran recently faced off with Russia in a friendly match playing to a 1-1 draw and Firat says he expects them to come even harder when they face Stars on Tuesday.

Olunga targets good performance 

His sentiments are echoed by striker Michael Olunga who says they will be tackling a tough opponent.

“Everyone knows Iran is a good side and any team which has played at the World Cup is a good team. Technically and tactically they are a good side and we saw their last result when they played in a draw against Russia,” Olunga said.

He added; “As players we want to play these kinds of matches and it is a positive step getting these calibre of friendly matches. When you want to compete with the top, you have to play with teams who have reached the top. It is a good test for the boys.”

.Harambee Stars Starting XI

Patrick Matasi (GK), Amos Nondi, Eric Ouma, Brian Mandela, Joseph Okumu, Teddy Akumu, Victor Omune, Richard Odada, Michael Olunga, Duke Abuya, Masud Juma.

Substitutes

Ian Otieno (GK), Bryne Odhiambo (GK), David Ochieng, Johnstone Omurwa, Aboud Omar, Daniel Sakari, Daniel Anyembe, Alpha Onyango, Kenneth Muguna, Wilkims Ochieng, Abdalla Hassan, Elvis Rupia

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