Qatar, the hosts of the 2022 World Cup, will host Kenya’s Harambee Stars in an international friendly match in Doha today( Thursday, September 6).
The game is scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m. at the Al Janoub Stadium, one of the eight venues used for last year’s Fifa World Cup. The stadium, located 20 km from central Doha in Al Wakrah, hosted its first World Cup match on November 22 between eventual finalists France and Australia.
This match will mark the first encounter between The Maroons and Harambee Stars. Qatar is currently ranked 59th by FIFA, whereas Kenya is considerably lower at 105th.
Harambee Stars Head coach Engin Firat said Qatar will pose a stern test for his team due to their roster of experienced players.
“Qatar have a high winning record and are also Asian champions. They have selected a good squad for this friendly and some of their key players have met Michael Olunga in their local league,” Firat said.
“With the impression Michael Olunga has shown in Qatar where he scores a lot of goals, many scouts will no doubt be present to ask about Kenyan players and we can show who we are. If we have a good impression, it will open a lot of opportunities for the players,” the Turkish football tactician added.
Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga, who plays for Al Duhail in the Qatari top league, said the match will force Stars’ players to improve their performance to the highest level as they face a more formidable opponent.
“It’s going to be an exciting and competitive game as I face four of my club mates (Al Duhail) and other players I have played against in the Qatar Stars League. I have already told them that we will not be friends during the match. It’s a great friendly, and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Olunga.
“It is a good opportunity to play in this kind of environment as it will prepare us for the type of hostility to expect in our upcoming away matches in the World Cup qualifiers. It will help us learn how to handle this type of pressure.”
The Stars have played three friendly matches since Fifa lifted an international ban on Kenya on November 28. They suffered a 2-1 defeat to Iran on March 28, before beating Pakistan 1-0 on June 14 and losing by the same score line to hosts Mauritius in the Four Nations Cup on June 18.