Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat on why he subbed on Benson Omala against Seychelles

Photo credit: FKF

FOOTBALL Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat on why he subbed on Benson Omala against Seychelles

Mark Kinyanjui 17:32 - 22.11.2023

Omala scored his maiden goal for Harambee Stars having come on as a substitute in the side’s 5-0 rout of Seychelles.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has explained the reason why he gave Gor Mahia hotshot Benson Omala a chance to express himself during the side’s historic 5-0 win over Seychelles on Monday evening.

Omala came on as a substitute for Masud Juma, who himself had gotten on the scoresheet, and was able to find the back of the net in exquisite style after Rooney Onyango found him well in the box with a cut-back.

The former Western Stima striker now has a goal from two caps for Kenya, and Firat expressed happiness at his goal and impact during his 25 minute cameo on the pitch.

“In the situation, we were leading very clear and therefore, it was time to give these players a chance. Benson worked well and therefore, I decided not to go with experienced players,” Firat said.

“I decided in the last minute to go more with the young ones like we always do. We are a team. Nobody can expect to play all the time. No one should think he has no chance. If somebody is in our team, he should always be ready to play.”

Omala made his debut against Mauritius in June but did not have a very good game. He was able to make amends with his goalscoring performance against Seychelles recently and even had another goal disallowed for offside.

“We are still a team which is learning. I am happy today also that some young player (Omala) scored,” Firat said.

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Firat also handed a maiden cap to US-based Nabi Kibunguchy, who came on in the 87th minute of the match.

“Again, we had a debutant, so it makes everything in the team better for us because of availability, this time everyone was thinking about who will be the next central defender because we lost three.

“You see then we put out Omurwa and Dennis (Ng'ang'a) and he has done quite a good job. We have now a good family which will be ready for all the tournaments, and like I said before. This team will have its prime at the 2027 AFCON in Kenya, and now we will show all of Africa who we are.

Harambee Stars are currently third in Group F on three points with a goal difference of positive four. Ivory Coast occupies first place, with Gabon second in the group, while Burundi, Gambia, and Seychelles are fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively.