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Engin Firat: Kenya will beat Ivory Coast and qualify for the World Cup in 2026

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Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has now predicted that Kenya will win against Ivory Coast ahead of their 2026 World Cup qualifiers matches set for June this year.

His predictions come after Ivory Coast faced a daunting challenge in the ongoing African Cup of Nations, where they suffered an embarrassing 4-0 thrashing by Equatorial Guinea in their last Group A game on Monday.

Firat who remains undeterred by Harambee Stars’ absence from this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, now believes that Kenya will pull off a surprise against Ivory Coast, who just sacked their coach Jean Louise Gasset due to a poor run in AFCON matches.

Firat attributed Ivory Coast’s underwhelming performance in AFCON to their struggles in handling pressure, identifying an opportunity for Harambee Stars to capitalize on their weaknesses.

‘Their sub-par performance at AFCON is a result of their inability to handle pressure. Regarding our match, I believe we can pull a surprise on them if we concentrate and have a good plan since I already know their weakness,” Firat said.

With Harambee Stars also set to play against Gambia in the World Cup Qualifiers, Firat acknowledges the challenge posed by the team, regretting their early elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations.

“They are a very good team. Their current coach has gone and I believe that the new one will identify new players and even though they have zero points in the World Cup qualifiers, they may give us problems when we meet,” said the Turkish gaffer.

In his assessment, Firat advises against drawing comparisons with East African neighbors, emphasizing that each team faces unique challenges.

In his assessment, Firat advises against drawing comparisons with East African neighbors, emphasizing that each team faces unique challenges.

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