Ghost Mulee: I will not resign
I will not resign unless I am fired by the federation. This was the bold declaration by under fire Harambee Stars coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee after the team returned home from Comoros where the Kenyans fell 2-1 to the hosts in a result that dimmed their hopes of qualifying to the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.
Mulee, who took over the coaching duties from Francis Kimanzi last month, attributed the defeat largely to the inactivity of most local-based players after the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) was halted last March due to Covid-19.
“How could you have expected the players to perform whilst they had stayed for nine months without action?” he posed.
Mulee said he has set certain benchmarks and that there are frailties he hopes to rectify before the remaining fixtures against Egypt and Togo at home and away respectively.
One of the areas the tactician hopes to work on is the defence which has conceded in all the qualifiers, besides trying to break the jinx of losing away matches.
‘While the team has been scoring in all the matches it has been conceding in equal measure which has raised a lot of concern.
We also need to improve on our away record since the last time the team registered a win was in 2012 when it vanquished Cape Verde,” said Mulee.
He added that the team was psychologically affected pre-match by unfounded claims by Comoros that a section of Kenyan players had tested positive for Covid-19.
“They claimed that six of our players had the virus thus causing a delay to the match and coupled with the fact that Comoros is extremely humid, it sort of affected the team.”
But Mulee remained adamant that the team was not out of contention in the qualifiers while defending himself on team selection which has raised eyebrows.
“We need to believe in ourselves. We can get six points in the remaining matches and hope that our opponents falter at some point. Remember, this is football which is quite unpredictable” he said.
Questioned about the rationale of fielding Arnold Origi between the posts given the easy goal he conceded against Les Coelacantes in the first leg in Nairobi last Wednesday, Mulee said it was deserved.
“Origi is an experienced player who was even named the best goalkeeper in the Finnish league and I deemed it fit to bring him on board to inspire the younger players.’’
Added Mulee: ”It was only ideal to give a starting place to Juma (Lawrence) whose performance has been consistent but he had to be substituted for Kenneth Muguna after he got tired early in the game.
Timbe (Ayub) also had to pave way for another substitute in the second half.’’
He also rued the absence of Michael Olunga in the attacking line which spurned several scoring chances.
“Olunga’s robustness was missed and I must say this was the missing link in the frontline.
This is one player who is a game-changer and I hope he will be around in the fixtures against Togo and Egypt. The same sentiments were echoed by team captain Victor Wanyama.
‘Olunga is a player who can convert half a chance into a goal and was missed.
This aside, we were unlucky to have lost after giving our all,’’ said Wanyama adding that it is not over yet until it’s over.
“A game is all about winning, losing or settling for a draw. Yes we lost but that does not mean that we lose focus. A chance however slim it is ought to be exploited by all means,” said Wanyama.
The Montreal Impact midfielder also imputed the result to the fact that Comoros players had played together for a lengthy time unlike Kenya.
“They (Comoros) played as a unit and I guess that’s why the team was cohesive throughout the match.
We need to get corrections moving forward and that will depend on the coach,” said Wanyama.