Mwendwa hits back at Firat’s accusations amid 2026  FIFA World Cup qualifiers chaos


Mwendwa hits back at Firat’s accusations amid 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers chaos

Festus Chuma 21:00 - 10.06.2024

FKF President Nick Mwendwa has dismissed coach Engin Firat's complaints about administrative issues affecting Harambee Stars' performance in World Cup qualifiers.

Towers of tension have risen within the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) as president Nick Mwendwa has responded sharply to claims made by Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat following a disappointing 1-1 draw against Burundi in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

The match fraught with controversy over player availability has spotlighted deepening rifts in team management as a critical qualifier against Africa champions Ivory Coast looms.

Mwendwa has refuted Firat's assertions that administrative errors led to the absence of key players which allegedly contributed to the unsatisfactory result.

The Turkish gaffer had indicated that failures in documentation processing for new call-ups Zak Vyner and Tobias Knost prevented their participation.

"We did all our tactical training with Zak Vyner. If Zak had been on the field today, we would have won," said Firat.

However, Mwendwa has dismissed these comments with irritation.

"Let him (Firat) focus and win the next game against Ivory Coast, sometimes coaches are very funny people especially if results don’t go their way,” he remarked as per

The match itself was a pivotal moment for Harambee Stars struggling to solidify their standing in a tough qualifying group.

With Vyner and Knost sidelined – Vyner due to an unprocessed new passport and Knost lacking clearance from the German Football Association – Kenya's squad depth was notably compromised.

Firat voiced his frustrations about the broader impact of these issues, underscoring the operational challenges within Kenyan football.

"Things that seem simple can be very complex in Kenya," he noted.

Despite these setbacks, Mwendwa is keen to redirect focus to the upcoming challenges, particularly the critical match against group leaders Ivory Coast.

“We have talked to the players and tried to psyche them up; we don’t want a situation where they will continue to think about the Burundi game," Mwendwa stated.

"We have a big one coming up against Ivory Coast and that is where our focus is for now, we must do everything possible to get a win.”

The federation president also remains optimistic about Kenya's chances, despite the current standings which place Kenya third in their group, trailing five points behind Ivory Coast.

"Yes, we do [have a chance to qualify], the chance is still there, we have to do our part and beat Ivory Coast, we are not out yet, we have a big chance to make A history and the dream (of qualifying) still lives on," he concluded.

Ivory Coast leads Group F with nine points, followed by Gabon with six, while Kenya and Burundi are tied with four points each; Gambia has three points, and Seychelles remains at the bottom with none after three matches.

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