When Kenya plays Iran in a friendly game in Tehran on Tuesday, Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has declared that he will emphasise developing a team for the future rather than winning.

PHOTO | COURTESY  Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat in training ahead of friendly against Iran

According to the tough-talking tactician, Kenyans should give him time and assess him by the team's performance when it comes time to play World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers starting in the coming year.

"Iran doesn't care about the outcome. Because I want the squad to grow, I choose this game. This is not a game for outcomes, but it is a game where I can judge the character of the players and their ability to perform under duress," the tactician added.

"Iran is one of the best teams in Asia," he continues. They have a high ranking and frequently compete in the World Cup. Iran or a straightforward encounter, which we undoubtedly won", were my options. I know everyone else would have opted for the short game".

PHOTO | COURTESY Harambee Stars players in training ahead of a friendly against Iran 

The tactician lamented the consequences of failing to play strong teams, adding he would like to see more of those to ensure that the players become accustomed to competing at the highest level.

The pressure to produce results, according to the Turkish coach, is one of the reasons most coaches don't appreciate facing more difficult opponents, but his strategy will be different.

"Because everyone is looking for results, Kenya hasn't played a powerful team in a friendly match in the last ten years. So how will you act under pressure in crucial games if you can't face great opposition"? The trainer posed.

The tactician has pledged to secure the team's rise to the top and participation in the upcoming Cup of Nations while pleading for more time to change the team's fortunes.

"Give us time to prepare, and then when it matters, and we have qualifications, assess us. But for now, we're working to strengthen our group because I need to consider the U20 and U23 teams in the long term and the A team, " the coach continued.

PHOTO | COURTESY Firat says that he needs more time in Stars to deliver results

As the head coach of the Harambee Stars, Firat is in his second term. He debuted in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifications in 2021, losing two straight games to Mali, drawing one with Uganda, and winning one (against Rwanda).