September 25, 2021

‘Harambee Stars’ Mulee not hired for one game’ – Mwendwa defends new Kenya coach

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The federation boss reveals to Goal his long-term agenda with the new national team coach after a disappointing draw

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has hit out at those criticising the appointment of Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee as the coach of the Harambee Stars after the team drew 1-1 against Comoros in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Wednesday.

In his first match in charge since replacing Francis Kimanzi, Mulee managed to secure a draw after Masoud Juma scored for Kenya in the second half to cancel out M’changama Youssouf’s well-struck free-kick in the first half.

The outcome of the match meant Kenya have now drawn three matches in the qualification campaign after a 1-1 draw against Egypt in Cairo and the same scoreline against Togo at home.

Mwendwa has since come out to defend the decision of handing the coaching mantle to Mulee, saying he was not hired for only one game but was given the job to prepare the team for three competitions that they will take part in.

“When you give a coach a job, you don’t give him a job for one game, and there is no guarantee he will win every game, but the question is the general progress he makes,” Mwendwa told Goal on Friday.

“I feel that by what we showed against Comoros, apart from bad lack, we played very well especially the second half and that is undisputed, but we have three tournaments, we have Afcon 2022, Afcon 2023 and World Cup 2022, so we are building a team for the three, so we work.

“We now head to Comoros and we must work hard, let us learn on how to win away, lets us know on how to win at home, let us make the changes that is required, let us have entire team intact and a good coach to motivate them which ‘Ghost’ Mulee does very well.

“So for me, I am happy with the result we picked against Comoros, I would have wanted three points but I am happy with what the boys did and the outcome of the match.”

Asked whether the Harambee Stars still have a chance to qualify for the Afcon finals to be held in Cameroon after three draws so far in the qualification campaign, Mwendwa told Goal: “Yes, I am confident, there is a path, even if we draw away in Comoros there is still a path because the other teams are also dropping points, so we are still in the game.

“The question is Togo and Egypt, what do we do? Is it a guarantee we win the matches? It is not, we never said it is a done deal, so what do we do?

“We have to give it the best effort but after we have a team to play against Mali, to play against Uganda for World Cup qualifiers, after which we have a team, David ‘Calabar’ Owino is back, he hasn’t played for two years now we saw him out there, Arnold Origi has not been there, our best team have not been put together for a while because of different reasons but now we do.”

“So what I am saying, let us give this squad time for them now to show us what they have, you know we will be disappointed of course if it goes badly but when you are leading you have to show leadership and the leadership is we are pointing the direction of good preparations better than before.”

The Harambee Stars will now depart for Comoros on Saturday ahead of their return leg clash against the island nation set for Moroni on Sunday.