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Reports: Harambee Stars land Iran friendly

Kenya will face Iran in an international friendly on March 28, 2023, Nairobi News understands.

The contest will likely be staged in Tehran during the international Fifa window.

Harambee Stars players, under Turk coach Engin Firat, are set to join residential training on March 19, 2023, ahead of the contest that will mark the team’s return to the pitch after a year in the cold.

Kenya has been in the cold for the entire 2022 after a ban slapped by Fifa from competing in international football.

The ban, which has since been lifted, was imposed after Fifa ruled the Kenya government had interfered with the running of football in the country. The ban coincided with a fallout between former Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and FKF bosses, led by Nick Mwendwa.

Iran is ranked 24th on the Fifa rankings, 77 positions ahead of Kenya.

The date with Iran comes a day after Football Kenya Federation (FKF) absolved itself from blame in the aborted friendly matches with Burundi.

FKF announced that Kenya will play the Swallows in Nairobi on March 25 and 28, 2023 but an official from Burundi FA was quoted as saying the games would not be played after FKF came up with a demand they be held in Indonesia.

FKF Director of Communication Pharis Kimaru dismissed the claims.

“We shall release a detailed statement on the matter on Tuesday,” he told Nation Sport.

After arriving in the country on March 1, 2023, Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat started scouting for players to face Burundi from the top-flight league who were to enter camp on March 17.

Qatari-based deadly forward Michael Olunga will likely be among the players called up. Olunga has in the past publicly complained of the national team’s inactivity.

“I am always bored during the international break as I remain with my club as my teammates travel to play for the national team,” he said in an interview with SportOn.

Also primed for a call-up in Gor Mahia’s Benson Omalla, arguably the most in-form player in the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League.

The youngster has scored 19 goals in as many league matches this season.

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