NAIROBI, Kenya, March 5 – Harambee Stars will play Iran in a warm up friendly next Saturday in Tehran.The announcement comes after Stars coach Antoine Hey stated at his first official press conference on Monday that he is not keen on his players taking part in international friendlies because of the limited preparation ahead of the Tunisian game.
“The coach was surprised at the level of fitness of the players and after the first session on Monday, he was begging for a friendly,” said Football Kenya Limited (FKL) vice director Titus Kasuve on Wednesday.
When he arrived, he was not aware of the condition of the players but we have briefed on the arrangements of the match and he is happy with it,” added Kasuve.
Iran are currently ranked 44th in the FIFA world rankings, has won three Asia Cup titles and has featured in three FIFA World Cups.
Plans are also in the pipeline for Stars to play a friendly against Morocco in August.
“These matches will be chance for young players to showcase their talent against the best Africa has to offer,” said FKL director Mohamed Hatimy
The squad has been put through an intensive training session by Hey and his assistant Kemal Halat at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Dennis Oliech has pulled out of the Tunisia squad with a thigh injury he picked playing for his club side Auxerre.
Meanwhile, the ‘Harambee Stars Road to 2010 Fund’ was launched by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Raila said the fund whose committee will be headed by Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Dr. Mohamed Isahakia will be utilized for its intended purpose.
“I’m appointing senior civil servants in the management of this fund to assure Kenyans that every penny to be contributed will be accounted for,” said Raila.
The committee also includes Sports and Youth Affairs permanent secretary Kinuthia Murugu, Hatimy, Kasuve and managing director of Extreme Sports Limited Hussein Mohamed who will be the coordinator of the committee.
“The fund will mobilize resources from individuals, corporates and individuals for the purposes of keeping Harambee Stars in the qualifiers,” said Raila.
The Prime Minister gave his personal contribution of Sh1 million to the fund while FKL weighed in with Sh5 million.
An estimated Sh10 million shillings is required for Stars to prepare for the qualifier against Tunisia.