The Harambee Stars’ head coach, Engin Firat, has urged supporters to show up in force and cheer on the squad for Tuesday night’s international exhibition match against South Sudan.
The coach, who last week guided Stars to a 1-2 victory against hosts Qatar in another friendly, said that the team’s enthusiasm from the 11,000 or so jubilant Kenyan fans in Doha was a morale lift.
Fans at home, in contrast, have not been as excited in some of the games the coach has led Stars to, and they now desire to witness a display of patriotism.
“I hope they will do the same. If they really like the national team, if they’re really patriots then they should support . I have to say I lost a little bit of hope about it here. But they gave me some hope in the match against Qatar and I have to thank the people there.
“They gave us our hope back. They didn’t care we were winning or losing, it was all about what we were doing in the field and there was full heart and everything. This means patriotism, this means football fans. We don’t need people here in the stadium or anywhere only talking on social media. We need people who believe in their country, this is what we believe is important,” said the coach, during an open media session on Monday evening.
In addition, following the team’s historic victory away to Qatar, President William Ruto has urged Kenyans to support the squad in the match against Sudan.
“Congratulations Harambee Stars for winning against the Qatar national team last week. I am very happy very many Kenyans showed up in Qatar to cheer up our team. As you are all aware, today (Tuesday) at 4:00pm Harambee Stars will be playing South Sudan.
“I want to ask all Kenyans to show up at 4:00pm to cheer on our champions – the Harambee Stars,” said the President in a widely circulated video Tuesday morning.
In September 2021, Firat began his first season as head coach of Harambee Stars. His reign was brief as he suffered defeats to Rwanda and Mali, as well as a draw to Uganda.
With two victories in four games during his second term, Harambee stars defeated Pakistan and Qatar while falling to Iran and Mauritius.
In 2026, the Turkish international will preside over the Harambee Stars’ bid to earn a spot in the AFCON.