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No pressure! Harambee Stars head coach Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee stretches out during a training session at the Kasarani Stadium. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Football

No pressure for ‘Ghost’ as he prepares for first Stars task in a decade

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee will be taking charge of his first match for the Harambee Stars on Wednesday when he leads out the Kenyan national team against Comoros in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Comoros under the Kasarani lights.

Mulee’s last match in charge for Stars was in 2010 during the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, but ahead of his return to the dug-out, the tactician says he is not anxious, but rather relaxed and looking forward to maximum points.

“This is just another day in office. You anticipate many things but definitely we will be looking for a good result,” Mulee says.

“I think I have been in the game and we have trained with the team for the last one week. Everyone is ready and for us is to look at continuing the journey towards AFCON qualification positively,”

Mulee comes in at a challenging time when the team has had very little time to train together, while the home-based chunk has not had competitive action for more than six months.

Most of the foreign based legion arrived in the country on Sunday night with skipper Victor Wanyama being the last to jet in, arriving on Tuesday at 11am.

“We can’t complain about the late arrivals. All in all there is a mission ahead. We knew this fixture way ahead of time but we know the situation and the times we are living in. Everything has changed. But looking at the team when we had full house training, it doesn’t look that bad,” Mulee stated.

“Of course there is a little bit of concern with his (Wanyama) late arrival but he has been there for a long time and I am happy he scored in his last game. He comes in motivated and the team will also be motivated and I know he will be able to deliver as usual,” stated the tactician.

Mulee has also hinted at the possibility of using a huge chunk of foreign based players for the tie as they have much more match fitness with their leagues already on while the local league is yet to kick off.

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“We will have to rely mostly on our foreign based players because they have been playing week in week out while for our locals, apart from thegame against Zambia, they have not played competitively since March,” Mulee explained.

The biggest miss for the team will however be striker Michael Olunga who has been unable to travel to Nairobi as his club Kashiwa Reysol are currently placed in quarantine after a bout of COVID-19 infections hit their team camp last week.

Despite the absence of the striker who has scored 23 goals in 25 matches for Reysol this season, Mulee is still optimistic that Kenya will find the goals.

“We knew he would not be here a week ago but we have other strikers who can take the mantle. He is a top striker, who has done good for the club and now that he’s not here we cannot cry over spilt milk. We have to do with what we have,” stated Mulee.

With Olunga absent, the tactician will look on to Zesco United’s John Mark Makwatta, Algeria based Masud Juma, Ulinzi’s Oscar Wamalwa and Gor Mahia starlet Benson Omala to raid the Comoros goal.

He is expecting a tough duel against the islanders, but remains confident a victory at home will be possible.

“We have to respect them because winning away to Togo is a big achievement. If they pick points here, it will not be good for us because they will open a big gap and we want to ensure they don’t do that so we need to go for three points,” Mulee further noted.

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