Harambee Stars set for exciting pathway in 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers


FOOTBALL Harambee Stars set for exciting pathway in 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Festus Chuma 08:49 - 02.09.2023

Engin Firat's charges gear up for their debut World Cup qualification journey with a challenging pathway ahead.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has unveiled the much-anticipated roadmap for the Harambee Stars of Kenya as they set their sights on qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. 

Drawn into Group F, a group brimming with talent and potential, the Harambee Stars are set to face challenges head-on as they vie for a historic spot on the grandest stage of them all.

A thrilling opening awaits later this year as they kick off their campaign with two pivotal away fixtures against Gabon and Seychelles, scheduled between November 13 and 20. 

March 2024 promises to be a significant chapter for Kenyan football as Harambee Stars will enjoy the advantage of their home turf, either at Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium or Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani, pending approval.

Burundi and Ivory Coast will be the opponents in this crucial home stretch, with matches taking place between March 3 and 11.

In June 2025, Harambee Stars will extend their horizons, crossing borders and flying to Gambia, where a challenging encounter awaits. The team will then return to the comfort of their own soil to face off against Guinea, a test of skill and mettle that is slated for June 17th to 25th. 

As the calendar progresses, Kenya's football enthusiasts will have the privilege of witnessing the national team don their jerseys once again on home soil. September 1-9, 2025, will witness gripping clashes against the Seychelles and the Gambia, with the Stars striving to harness the energy of their home advantage.

The climax of this arduous journey comes in October 2025, as Harambee Stars brace themselves for two daunting away fixtures. The battlegrounds will be in Burundi and Ivory Coast, nations that are just as resolute in their pursuit of a World Cup berth.

The expansion from 32 finalists in Qatar to 48 finalists in North and Central America means that Africa will secure a historic nine places, with the potential for a tenth.

In this new format, each group winner will earn automatic qualification, while the top four runners-up will advance to the play-offs.

The winner of these play-offs will then proceed to the inter-confederation play-offs, where two spots will be contested.

Apart from an African representative, the confederation play-offs will feature two teams from North/Central America, and one team each from Asia, South America, and Oceania.