Why ‘Ghost’ Mulee wants quick return of league action
- The Stars will confront Uganda, Rwanda and Mali in the first round of qualifiers with the aim of topping the group.
- The veteran coach has insisted he will not be entertaining players in foreign leagues who hardly get playing time at the expense of performing locals.
By all indications, Harambee Stars head coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee is building a new team, incorporating new faces of local based players.
In his last two matches of the botched Cameroon 2022 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, on Thursday and Monday, against Egypt and Togo respectively, Mulee left out several foreign based players who have dominated the Stars lineup for years.
In their places came fresh faces such as Abadallah Hassan, Daniel Sakari, Nahashon Alembi, Evis Rupia, Clyde Senaji and James Saruni just to name but a few have been preferred, giving a glimpse to the kind of squad he’s building for the forthcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers which get underway in June.
The Stars will confront Uganda, Rwanda and Mali in the first round of qualifiers with the aim of topping the group.
It thus explains why Mulee wants the league, halted as part of the government’s Covid containment measures, to restart soonest, a passionate appeal he made immediately after jetting back from Togo on Tuesday.
“If the league will resume soon, we will have a good opportunity of weighing the players we already have in the current team and also some other new faces we would want to include for the upcoming matches. The World Cup qualifiers are here and with the kind of opponents we have, we need our players to be active to be able to tackle them,” said Mulee.
The veteran coach has insisted he will not be entertaining players in foreign leagues who hardly get playing time at the expense of performing locals.
“My stars are the ones who did the job in Togo, not the one in foreign leagues. If you are in our local league and you are delivering, it means you are ready for the national team. Those playing abroad have to be consistently playing for us to see them.”
Mulee noted Mali’s FIFA ranking (54) compared to Kenya (104) tells it all, while Uganda and Rwanda’s recent performances including gracing the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon show their qualities according to him.
Michael Olunga, who Mulee has handed captaincy in the absence of Victor Wanyama, whose place in the team going forward is quite uncertain, underlines the importance of a running league ahead of the qualifiers.
“Such matches call for every player to be in their best form, considering the opposition you expect from Mali, Uganda and Rwanda. You can’t be in top form and fully fit unless you are playing in competitive matches regularly,” the Al Duhail forward opined.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa is already pushing for a quick return, also underscoring how badly Mulee needs his local legion active ahead of the qualifiers.
“I have talked to the CS (Amina Mohammed) today (Tuesday), and she says we write to her. She is keen that we come back quickly and we vaccinate all our players and officials in league so that we resume while observing the Covid-19 protocols. I have explained to her that when you see Abdallah Hassan scoring three goals in three matches, it is not magic but because of the league.”
The Bandari winger scored against Tanzania in their last friendly before the Egypt and Togo double header, in which he netted one each in the 1-1 draw and 2-1 victory respectively.
The league was halted at round 16, with Tusker topping with 36 points ahead of KCB and AFC Leopards respectively.
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