The former Antalyaspor manager, 51, is a free agent after he left his position with Moldova this year
Turkish football tactician Engin Firat is leading the race to replace Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee as the next head coach for the Kenya national side, the Harambee Stars, Goal can reveal.
The position fell vacant after the former Tusker coach left after a mutual agreement with the Football Kenya Federation. Mulee had just led Kenya in two 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Uganda and Rwanda, where they managed to register two points from a 0-0 draw at home and a 1-1 draw in Kigali, respectively, in early September.
The former Moldova coach, 51, according to sources within the federation, is now leading the race in as far as the hunt for the next coach is concerned.
“He [Firat] is the top candidate to be appointed,” said the source on Friday. “FKF is keen to have a foreigner at the Harambee Stars this time around and this idea is not influenced by how Francis Kimanzi and Mulee performed.
“Kimanzi and Mulee did exemplary jobs with our team but the idea, considering the assignments ahead, is to have a coach with maybe a different aspect of the experience to lead the Harambee Stars.”
“The federation is keen to have a coach who would come and continue with the culture set by Kimanzi and Mulee, where mostly local players who were performing well were considered.
“This does not mean the federation will set the course for the new coach, but everyone knows the importance of continuity.
“We have to learn from our past and understand the need for a continuous building of the team rather than having to start all over again when a new coach is appointed.”
Firat is an experienced coach, having worked with 18 teams, both clubs and national sides since he started his career in 1997. Among the high-profile sides he has worked with are Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany between 2000 and 2002 and Fenerbahce of Turkey, where he worked as an assistant manager between 2002 and 2003.
His latest station of work was Moldova, a position he left in 2021.
Should Firat eventually get appointed, keen eyes will want to see whether he will work without Kenya’s high-profile stars like Victor Wanyama, Johanna Omollo, and Ayub Timbe, who were dropped by Mulee.
Mulee – who has revealed why he had to resign – left his position after 11 months at the helm of the former Cecafa champions.