NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – New Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat started his two-month life at the Kenya football team with a huge loss after succumbing to a 5-0 defeat away to Mali in the Africa 2022 Fifa World Cup Qualifier.
Engin Firat made a terrible debut with Harambee Stars and mathematically confirmed the end of Kenya’s march to Qatar 2022 World Cup, losing embarrassingly 5-0 to Mali on Thursday in Agadir, Morocco.
Ibrahima Kone hit a hat-trick as Adama Traore and Moussa Doumbia added one each, subjecting Kenya to such a defeat for the first time since 2005 when Morocco humbled then Stars side 5-1 in Rabat during the 2006 World Cup qualifiers.
Mali thus top Group E of the World Cup qualifiers with seven points, ahead of Uganda who have five following their Thursday 1-0 win in Kigali while Kenya and Rwanda have two and one respectively.
Interestingly, Mali boasts of six goals now, five of them scored against Kenya, as they beat Rwanda by a solitary goal in the same town before drawing Uganda 0-0 in Kampala.
Firat’s confusion was evident just from the squad he started, playing some players out of their usual positions, justifying questions Kenyans raised on the timing of his appointment.
With his fielding, the Turkish and former Moldova coach who was appointed three weeks ago, exposed little knowledge of the team and probably, singular decisions without much opinion of his assistants.
The result means that Kenya remains second last in Group E on two points, just one point above Rwanda who are bottom after losing to Uganda 1-0 in the earlier kick-off while Mali went on top of the table on seven points, two above second placed Uganda.
Harambee Stars will welcome Mali in the return leg on Sunday in Nairobi.
Kenya socked in four goals in the first half with Ibrahima Kone scoring a hat-trick while Adama Traore opened the scoring.
In the second half, Kenya conceded another goal thanks to Moussa Doumbia goal in the 85th minute.