FKF blames Burundi for aborted friendly, confirms Iran date
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has blamed the Football Federation of Burundi (FFA) for the aborted international friendly between Harambee Stars and the Swallows.
Meanwhile, as earlier revealed by Nairobi News, Kenya will now play Iran in Tehran on March 28, 2023, in an alternative fixture.
FKF had earlier announced Kenya would twice face Burundi in Nairobi on March 28 and 31, 2022, in international friendlies.
But the matches were called off days later, with a FFA official claiming the decision not to play Kenya was arrived at after unnamed Kenyan officials requested the games be played in Indonesia.
Interestingly, FKF, has in a statement released on March 15, 2023, also accused Burundi of attempting to shift the game to Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.
“Kenya was originally scheduled to play Burundi in Nairobi but a last-minute decision by Burundi to play Indonesia in Jakarta necessitated the change to Iran whom Kenya had planned to play later on the in the year,” read FKF’s statement in part
This will be the first time Kenya is playing an international match after over a year due to an earlier suspension by Fifa that has since been lifted.
Kenya served a Fifa ban from February to November 2022 after former Sports CS Amina Mohamed disbanded FKF over reported economic crimes by select FKF officials.
Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat says the Iran friendly will provide a competitive platform for his players.
Iran, featured at the 2022 FIfa World Cup in Qatar and are ranked 24th on the Fifa standings, some 77 places above Kenya.
“Iran is a world-class team, ranked number 1 in Asia. Playing a tough opponent is a chance to push our players to the maximum, to make them familiar with high-level football and show the difference between where we are and where want to be,” said Firat
“Playing against world-class teams frequently will help us to be ready at the important moment when we play in the World cup qualifiers. We can play weaker teams and get easy victories but this will not help us at the important moment,” he added.
Firat is expected to summon his strongest side available, including Qatari based forward Micheal Olunga and Gor Mahia attacker Benson Omala for this assignment.