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Stars coach Mulee bullish, says he would be afraid of Uganda Cranes boss Micho if it was a boxing contest

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021 00:00 |
Harambee Stars players Michael Olunga (right) and Hassan Abdallah during light training at Nyayo Stadium yesterday. Photo/PD/ PHILLIP KAMAKYA

 Webster Nyandika and David Ndolo

Harambee Stars renew their rivalry against neighbours Uganda this afternoon at Nyayo Stadium in the latest ‘Migingo Derby’ that doubles up as a crucial 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifier.

A win for Stars would be a dream start to the campaign in a group that they are pitted against Rwanda and Mali as well.

Head coach Jacob Mulee yesterday said his side is keen to kick off the campaign with a win at home against the rival neighbours to boost their quest going into the other group matches.

“We are yearning to qualify for the World Cup for the first time ever. Uganda is rated above us and have a better head-to-head record over us, but that is history, we respect them but we have to win this home fixture,” Mulee said.

The Cranes have beaten Stars a record 32 times, with Kenya only managing 22 wins and the remaining 23 encounters ending in a stalemate.

The teams first met on May 1, 1926 during a regional competition and the match ended in a one-all draw. They last locked horns in Nairobi on September 8, 2019 in an international friendly that ended in a 1-1 draw.

According to Mulee, a positive start to the campaign would shape their destiny and he believes that to stand any chance of qualifying for the global event, they had to win all their home qualifiers, look for two more victories on foreign land and probably get a draw.

“I could only be afraid of Uganda coach Micho if I was being directly pitted against him and not in a football match but in a boxing contest. 

This is a different scenario and we will be going for nothing less than a win,” Mulee said.

Mulee had been criticised by a section of local fans for not considering some key players in his team selection, but he believes the available lot would do the job.

In the absence of Victor Wanyama and Johanna Omollo, Mulee is likely start with Duncan Otieno and Lawrence Juma as defensive midfielders, while Eric Johana, Abdallah Hassan and Kenneth Muguna  are his offensive midfield options with Michael Olunga as the lone striker up front.

In defence Daniel Sakari is tipped to start at right full-back, with Eric Ouma at left full-back and the pair of Johnson Omurwa and Joseph Okumu in Central Defence.

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