Harambee Stars will now have to host their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers away from Kenya after the country was found to have substandard stadiums for such matches.
Kenya takes pride in the Kasarani Stadium and Nyayo National Stadium, but the Confederation of African Football (CAF) did not include these two renowned sporting facilities on the list of pre-approved stadiums.
“Based on the inspection report, we regret to inform you that the stadium did not meet the minimum CAF Stadium requirements set, and as a result, it will not be approved for the qualifying matches,” CAF stated in a letter.
Harambee Stars, in their World Cup qualifying journey, find themselves in Group F for the Africa World Cup qualifiers, alongside Ivory Coast, Gabon, Gambia, Burundi, and Seychelles.
They are set to commence their qualifying campaign with an away match against Gabon on November 13, followed by a trip to Seychelles a week later.
In June 2024, Kenya will host both Burundi and Ivory Coast, matches that are likely to be staged in another country.
Firat confident Kenya will play 2026 World Cup
Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat is however confident that Kenya stands a genuine chance of securing a spot in the 2026 World Cup finals.
In an interview with Turkish news outlet Demirören News Agency, Firat emphasized that Kenya’s placement in a balanced group.
This to him, significantly enhances their prospects of participating in the global spectacle for the very first time.
“I am very hopeful about the future. I think we have a high probability of going to the World Cup,” he said.
Firat is currently in camp with Harambee Stars players as they prepare for friendly matches.
Kenya plays Qatar on September 7, 2023, in Doha before taking on South Sudan in Nairobi on September 12, 2023.