Harambee Stars legend Allan Thigo blasts coach Engin Firat for dropping Benson Omala
Harambee Stars legend Allan Thigo has castigated coach Engin Firat for dropping Gor Mahia talisman Benson Omala from his squad to play Iran.
Kenya will play Iran in an international friendly in Tehran on March 28, 2023, and Omalla, who has been in superb form for his club, is among players that were initially called up for the assignment but then dropped.
Thigo who donned Harambee Stars colours between 1968 and 1979, explained the move could dampen the spirit of the youngster who is on a goalscoring spree in the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League.
“I’m upset by what the coach did to Omala and as a former footballer, I will not shy away from speaking about it. It was wrong, unjustifiable, and can’t happen in any country. I do not know of any country where a local league top scorer has been dropped from the national team?’” posed Thigo.
“If I were Omala I would reject a future call up to the national team and focus on professional football. I would even advise him not to reject an offer of playing for another country just as some athletes have done because he is not wanted in his country,” added Thigo.
Firat gave no valid reason on why Omala, who has scored 19 goals in 20 league games this season, was dropped, only saying being a leading goal scorer in a local league can’t guarantee one a place in the national team.
However, Thigo recounted a case in point where celebrated Brazilian forward Ronaldo was incorporated into the national team squad ahead of the 1994 World Cup at a tender age even though he didn’t feature in the competition.
He also warned Firat to watch his language while addressing Kenyans saying the tone of his speech on Saturday shows a personality who is full of himself as if he had led Kenya to the World Cup
“He should watch his language and not show those who love football disrespect. How can a coach chide his players by saying one value of Iran players has more market value than his squad combined? It is shameful and demoralising,” said Thigo.