Nairobi News

SportsWhat's Hot

Ex-FKF boss Sam Nyamweya rallies Harambee Stars ahead of 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers

By Mercy Simiyu November 16th, 2023 2 min read

Former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Sam Nyamweya has asked Kenyans to rally behind the national football team ahead of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers which commence on November 15, 2023.

Kenya will face Gabon in Franceville on November 16, 2023, before flying to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivorie’s capital to plan Seychelles four days later in her opening fixtures in this competition.

Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, and Burundi are the other teams in Kenya’s pool.

The winning team after the qualification matches will qualify to compete at the 2026 Fifa World Cup which will be co-hosted in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

“I have remained a patriot when it comes to matters national teams (both men and women) and further wish to urge all Kenyans to rally behind the team as they launch their quest to reach the World Cup final for the first time in their history,” said Nyamweya, who was FKF president between 2011 and 2016.

During his tenure, Kenya came close to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup after drawing 1-1 with Nigeria away in Calabar and thumping Seychelles 7-0.

Nyamweya has also thanked the government for backing the team in this tournament.

“I want to thank President William Ruto and Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba for supporting the team. This is a clear indicator that the government is keen on supporting football and other sports disciplines in the country.”

The sports ministry chartered a flight to ferry the Harambee Stars contingent to Franceville and Abidjan for the matches. Namwamba has also announced the government will reward the team should they post wins in the two games and ultimately qualify for the Fifa World Cup.

Harambee Stars under coach Engin Firat will approach this match in the back of a 2-2 draw with Russia in a recent international friendly played in Turkey, alongside a 2-1 win over Qatar in Doha.

France-based defender Joseph Okumu and left-back Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma who is based in Sweden are the notable absentees in this match. The duo will likely be replaced by Dennis Nganga who is based in Zambia at Zanaco, and Aboud Omar who plies his trade at Police FC in the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League.

Firat will likely count on Qatari-based forward Michael Olunga, his strike partner Masoud Juma, and Midfielder Eric Johanna to deliver the required results in this assignment.