Harambee Stars set for Burundi double header after more than a year's dry spell – Capital Sports
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – Over a year and three months since Kenya last played an international football match, national men’s team Harambee Stars will be back in action in March for two friendly matches against neighboring Burundi.
Stars’ last international match was in Nairobi, a 2-1 victory over Rwanda in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers on November 15.
The national team will face off with Burundi in two matches; March 23 and 28 in Nairobi. The March international window will be used by CAF for Match Day Three of the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Kenya was not enrolled to play in the qualifiers as it was during the period in which the country was suspended from international football due to government interference.
Stars would have faced Burundi that weekend in the qualifiers, and the two countries have now agreed to play the friendly, as Burundi will not be in action. The only match in what would have been Kenya and Burundi’s group will be between Cameroon and Burundi.
“Football is coming back from a very difficult period. We have missed big opportunities for both men and women. These friendlies are the first step in rebuilding the team and getting us ready for competitive international football,” Football Kenya Federation CEO Barry Otieno said.
Otieno had previously told Capital Sport that the biggest challenge they were facing was finding an opponent as most countries would be engaged in the qualifiers.
With Burundi also having a free window, they managed to reach an agreement.
Turkish trainer Engin Firat who took Kenya through the last round of matches for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in November 2021 is expected to continue as head coach and will assemble his first squad since returning on March 17.
“It is important to keep the team engaged, to keep working so that we are able to play at a good level when we return,” the coach is quoted as saying by FKF.