FIFA World Cup Kenya coach Firat loses four key players to injury

Kenya’s Harambee Stars suffered a huge blow after four key players led by defender Joseph Okumu were ruled out of their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixtures against Burundi and Ivory Coast in June.

On Monday, head coach Engin Firat named a provisional squad of 25 local-based players to start preparations for the two crucial matches slated for Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi on June 8th and 11th respectively.

Firat confirmed to People Sports the unavailability of Okumu, who features for Ligue 1 side Reims FC, striker Masoud Juma, defender Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma, who plays for Ekstraklasa club Rakow Częstochowa and Zambian-based Dennis Nganga.

According to the Turkish tactician, Okumu is nursing a knee injury picked while on club duty, Juma is out recuperating after undergoing surgery to repair his tendon and will miss action for two months, Ouma is out injured while Nganga is down with a bout of malaria.

“We will have to navigate the two fixtures minus Okumu, Juma, Ouma and Nganga,” Firat told People Sports. “The four are among my key players but we will have to plan without them, especially Masoud (Juma), who is technically out for the two matches, he picked a tendon injury that was operated on and must now miss action for the next two months.”

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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