Sofapaka CEO’s Optimism: Kenya’s World Cup Qualification Dream Still Alive

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Ex – international confidence in Kenya’s abilities

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The spirit of hope and perseverance continues to burn bright within Kenya’s football fraternity, as highlighted by Sofapaka Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ronald Okoth’s unwavering belief in Harambee Stars’ World Cup qualification prospects.

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Despite a mixed bag of results in their recent encounters against Burundi and Ivory Coast in Malawi, Okoth remains resolute that Kenya still holds a fighting chance to secure a coveted spot in the global tournament.

Two important points during the break

Following their journey to Lilongwe, Kenya’s national team, Harambee Stars, emerged with a commendable two points from their matchups against the Swallows and the Elephants. The matches ended in a 1-1 draw against Burundi and a goalless stalemate against the reigning African champions Ivory Coast. These outcomes temporarily placed Kenya in the fourth position on the six-team table, with a total of five points. In contrast, Burundi’s impressive 3-0 victory over Seychelles propelled them to the third spot, boasting a tally of seven points. The Ivory Coast currently leads the table with 10 points, closely followed by Gabon with nine points.

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Ex – international confidence in Kenya’s abilities

Despite the challenges posed by the latest results, Okoth, a former player with significant experience in the Kenyan Premier League, including a stint with the illustrious Gor Mahia, exudes confidence in Kenya’s abilities to turn the tide in their favor. He asserts that maintaining focus and securing victories in their upcoming matches are the keys to revitalizing Kenya’s World Cup aspirations. Okoth’s experience both on and off the pitch lends credibility to his optimistic perspective on the national team’s potential to navigate the arduous qualification journey successfully.

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“In football, we can never say never despite dropping vital points and falling down the group,” Okoth told media. “Still plenty of crucial games to work on and make amends for lost points so that Kenya can catch up. A first-ever World Cup so long as the fixtures are not over is still within reach and each game should now be played like a final.”

On whether Kenya getting a draw against the African champions was a fair a result, he said: “A draw was a very fair result, on paper Kenya were the underdog and everyone expected them to lose by a huge margin but I had a lot of confidence contrary to the public opinion.

“Kenya tends to play well against much bigger and experienced opponents and against Ivory Coast it was no different as they matched them pound to pound. Kenya superbly managed to contain the pressure from Ivory Coast and tried to hit them on a quick transition which almost bore the fruits on various occasions.”

He added: “The players showed a lot of confidence while with possession and off possession, and while building from the back, but generally our opponents were disappointed with the draw as they expected an easy win despite Kenya putting up a spirited fight.”

While Kenya may find themselves in a slightly disadvantaged position in the current standings, the competitive nature of football leaves room for unexpected twists and comeback stories. Okoth’s steadfast belief in Harambee Stars’ capacity to rise to the occasion serves as a beacon of hope for fans and supporters alike. As the team gears up for their remaining fixtures, the determination and resilience instilled by Okoth’s unwavering faith in their abilities may very well spur them towards achieving their ultimate goal of World Cup qualification.

Gambia and Gabon next on Kenya’s World Cup qualification path

Kenya’s next qualifier will see them face the Gambia away on March 17th, 2025, before they host Gabon on March 24th.

In the midst of challenges and setbacks, Ronald Okoth’s positive outlook encapsulates the enduring spirit of optimism and determination deeply embedded in Kenya’s football culture. With the support of the nation behind them, Harambee Stars continue their quest for glory with the belief that against all odds, their dreams of World Cup qualification can still become a reality.

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