Having joined FIFA as early as 1960, Kenyan football can look
back on a rich footballing tradition in Africa, including being one
of 24 African teams that entered the qualifying rounds for the 1974
FIFA World Cup™.
Their first opponents were Sudan and after winning the first game in Kenya 2-0, they travelled to Sudan to defend their two-goal lead. Although the Harambee Stars lost the return leg 1-0, they still advanced to the second round. In the second round they again won at home - this time against Mauritius - and held the islanders to a 2-2 draw away. The Kenyans came unstuck in the third round.
Although the eastern African nation has taken part in the preliminary rounds of every FIFA World Cup™ since then, the only time that they were really in the running was for France 1998. Kenya needed to beat Nigeria to get through to the final phase, but the Super Eagles proved too strong and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.
In the African pre-preliminary qualifying rounds for Germany 2006, Kenya was drawn against their East African rivals Tanzania, with whom they still had a score to settle after the Taifa Stars sent them crashing out the qualifying competition for Spain 1982. They did not manage to avenge a 5-0 away loss after a goalless draw in Dar-Es-Salaam, but a 3-0 home victory gave them what they wanted. Two of the goals in Nairobi came from star player Dennis Oliech.
The striker then impressed at the 2004 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, scoring a goal in his nation's historic first-ever victory at the tournament - a 3-0 win over Burkina Faso - but it was not enough to make any real waves in qualifying Group 5 for Germany 2006. Kenya eventually finished behind Tunisia, Morocco and Guinea with a record of three wins and a draw in their ten matches.
Having missed out on qualifying for the continental finals in 2006 and 2008, the Kenyans are targeting a finals berth in South Africa.